By Olivia Coxhead
Oxford University and Oxford Brookes have teamed up with the City Council to launch a pilot scheme encouraging students not to leave behind excessive waste when they move out of rented accommodation.
The campaign has come in response to complaints from Oxford residents that students leave furniture and substantial household rubbish behind when they leave for the summer.
The scheme will urge students to recycle and donate unwanted items.
Elizabeth Mills, Chairman of the Divinity Road Area Residents’ Association, said: Five or six young adults [can] produce an enormous amount of waste, much of which is left strewn around the front gardens and not cleared by the dustman.”
John Tranner, executive board member for A Cleaner, Greener Oxford, expressed his hope that the plan to knock on the doors of 2,000 homes in East Oxford and Headington will help to ease this problem.
He said: “Getting the two universities and the City Council working together, I think we’ll see a big improvement this year and much less unsightly rubbish left around in gardens and yards.”
Oxford University has donated a laptop to be won by a student who gives unwanted furniture to a local charity.
Charities Emmaus and Aspire will both be collecting furniture to be given to homeless people.
Other organisations involved include Age UK, Barnardo’s, Helen & Douglas House and Oxfam.
Mills attributed the waste problem to “an apparent inability of highly intelligent young people to take their responsibilities as householders seriously”.
However, a spokesperson for letting agent Manor House Properties said: “Our experience of this has been minimal. We have always been very strict with waste being left both internally and externally at the properties we manage.”
One second-year student, who asked not to be named, defended students against the charge of being bad neighbours. The student said: “I feel like we’re being painted like some over-privileged, spoilt children.
“I think a lot of people are forgetting that not having a car means that we can’t take things to landfill sites or recycling points.”