Trashing - what a waste

Oxford University is running a new campaign ‘Trashing: what a waste’ to show the extent of the damage that trashing causes. It is intended to make students more cognizant of the numerous ramifications of trashing, as well as alternative ways to celebrate, so that they can make the most of their celebrations.


Trashing: What a Waste visual


After some Oxford University students finish their final exams, they create a huge mess in public spaces with non-biodegradable materials, paint, foam, and sometimes food and drink that costs the University more than £25,000 each year to clean up: an astonishing amount wasted that could be directed elsewhere.

In a new website page the University has detailed the detrimental effects of trashing such as wasting food that could be donated to those less fortunate, wasted expense that could be put towards improving student facilities and services, the disruption to those still studying or in exams, and how trashing has resulted in students and residents being admitted to hospital due to slipping on trashing materials.

From an environmental perspective, using non-biodegradable goods is harmful to animal life, and paint also damages the environment. Moreover, you never know where trashing items might end up, for instance, if they fall in a drain they may end up in a local river and contribute towards destroying a natural habitat. Environmental effects can be far-reaching, and irreversible.

The University wants all students to celebrate in style, but the startling financial loss alongside all of the other detrimental effects of trashing make it something that students must become aware of and take more responsibility for.

‘I’m a student and want to celebrate! What can I do?’

We know that our students probably don’t intend to cause harm through their celebrations. If you want to celebrate but aren’t sure what choices to make, here are some tips:

  • Celebrate away from exam centres
  • Don’t waste food and drink on trashing
  • Don’t use any items that require cleaning, like paint, foam, or non-biodegradable materials
  • Celebrate without making a mess
  • Think about other students, local residents, and the reputation of the University and its students

You can find more information about the campaign here.  Take a look too at the Student Union guide to green trashing.

Spread the word

If you’re a student or staff member of the University, please share this blog using the social links below to spread the word about trashing and encourage better ways to celebrate.