PLEASE #TEACYCLE! New campaign finds less than a third (28%) of RCT students recycle their teabags, contributing to 6.3m unrecycled teabags generated by students
Recycle for Wales calls for RCT students to rise to the challenge and help make Wales the best recycling nation in the world
A Recycle for Wales study of over 5,000 Rhondda Cynnon Taf residents reveals as little as under a third (28%) of students recycle their teabags.
The figure is far lower than other groups in the communi-tea. Over two thirds (68%) of those not in education told the Welsh national recycling campaign they do recycle teabags regularly.
The RCT figures come as Recycle for Wales also revealed that a staggering 6.3 million teabags evading recycling bins across Wales are generated by students, contributing to the creation of methane, a damaging greenhouse gas. The new campaign #TEAcycle launched an online video which you can view below, and kick-started a campaign across Welsh universities, to challenge students to take a tea-leaf from the books of older generations. Students’ older community counterparts are currently leading the way with food recycling with 87% of 65s and over, stating they do recycle their food waste.
Food recycling can be collected from homes across Rhondda Cynon Taf, and the area is exceeding its overall recycling rate target by recycling 64% of its waste. However, Recycle for Wales and the council are on a quest to increase recycling levels to 70% by 2025, to meet Welsh Government targets. Increasing student participation in food recycling is key to making that difference.
Angela Spiteri, Campaign Manager at Recycle for Wales, said: "Recycling teabags doesn’t need to be a strain, and is one of the easiest ways we can all make a difference to recycling rates in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Everyone loves a good cuppa, especially students on breaks from their lectures or getting that caffeine hit before the first lecture of the day!
“There are over 128,000 students studying in Wales and it would be fantastic if they all recycled their teabags after enjoying their cuppa and that’s why we’re working with the University of South Wales, to help achieve this. A cup of tea may be there to help you power down at the end of the day, but a recycled teabag could actually create a lot of power. Just two recycled teabags could fully charge your smartphone!”
If all teabags binned by students in Wales each year were recycled, it could generate enough electricity to power a typical student house for over seven years- more than enough time for an undergraduate and post-graduate degree. The recycled teabags could also play a huge part in student entertainment during free time at the University of South Wales – in fact, if all the teabags destined for the bin and potentially ending up in landfill were recycled, it could power a DJ set constantly for over 15 months or a band playing at Cable’s Bar on campus for 16 and a half months.
Why should we recycle teabags?
Around 153 million teabags end up in landfill from across Wales, which contributes to the creation of methane, a greenhouse gas. In RCT, when teabags, and any other food waste, is recycled it is sent to an anaerobic digestion plant in Aberdare. Anaerobic digestion involves the natural breakdown of food into methane and carbon dioxide gas but instead of escaping into the atmosphere, these gases are used to generate electricity. This electricity can then be used to heat and power homes in the RCT. It can also produce fertiliser which can be used in agriculture.
Angela Spiteri continued: “Wales currently ranks third in the world in recycling but there is always more that can be done. Everyone creates a certain amount of food waste, no matter how conscientious we are. Out of all the unavoidable food waste we create, recycling our teabags is an easy way to make a huge impact on Wales’ recycling rates and hopefully get us to the top of the recycling charts.”
Power student living with teabags:
- Tea-powered coursework: 36 recycled tea bags could generate enough electricity to power a computer for one hour.
- Turn tea into juice for your phone! Two recycled tea bags could generate enough electricity to fully charge a smartphone.
- Power this weekend’s party: One and a half recycled tea bags could generate enough electricity to power a disco ball for one hour.
- Your caffeine fix: Six recycled teabags could produce enough electricity to boil a kettle for another cuppa.
To find out more, watch our video about how many teabags we consume in Wales and the importance of recycling teabags here: