Sustainability placement

An insight into two placement student’s time spent working with the environment team on the University’s most recent recycling initiatives.

Recycling is a pressing issue for us all in today’s society and has always been a keen interest of ours. Here at MMU, we have had the opportunity to get involved with the Environment Team and make a difference to our campus community.

We are both second year BSc (Hons) Human Geography students. As part of our course this year, we selected the ‘Vocational Experience’ module in which you work towards securing a four-week placement related to either sustainability or education.

For one month, we are working with the Manchester Metropolitan University Environment Team. We have individual projects that we are working on throughout our placement around the matters of recycling within the university.

side bins

One of our placement projects is around the idea of engagement in recycling. The ‘Ideas into Action’ scheme offers staff the opportunity to propose project ideas, which engage with the sustainability commitments of the university. Dee Vyas brought the idea of a TetraBin to light, designed originally by Steven Bai in Sydney. The TetraBin tackles the issue of littering by encouraging the public to recycle in an interactive and gamified way. Essentially, the deposition of rubbish into a bin is turned into a fun activity using sensors to play Tetris. Manchester Met are looking to collaborate with Steven Bai to develop the idea further and install a TetraBin onto the University campus, the planning of this being the focus of this placement project.

The other project involves a revaluation of current recycling services in our student halls of residence, namely Cavendish, Cambridge, Birley and Booth. At the moment, recycling and general waste is dealt with differently between the locations. The University is looking to improve recycling efficiency within halls, as well as engaging students with University sustainability targets and goals. This will have an impact on the management of halls in the future, creating a more sustainable way of living for students and staff.

Our placements are providing us with the opportunity to apply the knowledge learnt from degree studies to a real working environment. We are improving valuable skills such as IT literacy, communication, teamwork and organization just to name a few. It feels good to be involved with something that will actually make a difference to the university, as well as having a positive impact within the wider community. It is also a great opportunity to get degree relevant work experience on our CV and experience of a real working environment.

If you have a passion for sustainability and are studying or working at Manchester Metropolitan, there are many opportunities to get involved. The ‘Big Impact’ scheme focuses on two areas, ‘Sustainability in Action’ and ‘Sustainable Living’. Many activities run throughout the year around the University, such as Pop Swap, Grow stuff and Carbon literacy training, some of which you can gain Manchester Metropolitan futures points for your contribution. For further information head to to see how you can have an big impact on the University community.


By Katie Foulkes and Helen Filby




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