Promoting the circular economy at Bangor University

Caru Cymru is an inclusive movement led by Keep Wales Tidy and local authority partners to eradicate litter and waste. The aim of Caru Cymru is to inspire the people of Wales to take action and care for our environment. It is not just about cleaning up; it is also about stopping litter from happening in the first place.

Following consultation with partners, fly-tipping of domestic waste was highlighted as a key issue to tackle with a national campaign.

Phase one of the campaign targeted students – educating them on the correct waste behaviours and promoting repair and reuse through a series of university engagement events, including Bangor University’s first repair café.


Why focus on students?

Extensive research carried out by Keep Wales Tidy’s Policy and Research Team showed students and other residents of HMOs are likely to experience specific issues which may create excess waste and potential fly-tipping. These include high turnover of tenants, lack of experience of local waste and recycling arrangements, and sharing bin facilities with unrelated households.

What happened at Bangor University and who was involved?

In October 2022, Keep Wales Tidy helped to establish Bangor University’s first on

campus, student-led repair café in collaboration with the Students’ Union, Repair Café Wales, Gwynedd County Council and Petha (Gwynedd’s Library of Things). Student volunteers were recruited to offer IT support, clothing and bike repairs.

It was all part of Bangor University’s Waste Awareness Week, which also gave partners the opportunity to talk directly to students about reducing waste.

What was the impact?

Hundreds of students, most of whom were living on their own for the first time, were informed of the importance of creating sustainable households.

Members of the community were also invited to see the on-campus repair café in action and learn about the value of repairing and reusing household items.

Did events take place anywhere else in Wales?

Similar engagement events took place at universities across the country. These included:

  • – A recycling pop-up at Cardiff University
  • – A door knocking activity and repair café at Swansea University
  • – A clothing swap at Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • – Sustainability engagement event at Wrexham Glyndwr

Phase one of the fly-tipping campaign – ‘Not a Good Look’ – were shared with all universities via the online toolkit and led to extensive engagement on digital channels.

‘Not a Good Look’ adverts were displayed on buses, bus stops, local bars, music venues and cinemas in and around university campuses. Messaging also featured on streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, targeting young people ages between 18-25.

What are the university’s future plans?

Bangor University Students’ Union is now running regular repair café events on campus alongside Repair Café Wales. The aim is to attract volunteers with more diverse skills so the events continue to gather momentum.