Oxford students ignore ban on age-old garbage tradition

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Oxford University students today ignored a ban on a centuries-old tradition of tossing food, alcohol and confetti after exams, as the city’s famous streets were covered in rubbish.

Students have long taken part in “trashing” at the end of each academic year, ruining their classmates’ smart clothes as they leave the exam halls for the last time.

But earlier this week, it emerged that the university and its colleges are trying to curb the practice, with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and the staggering cost of clean-up afterwards.

Christ Church decided to close his famous meadow for two hours, twice a day when exams are over, so that students can’t go to the trash there.

However, the students still found a way to continue the tradition, in scenes that left the streets with foam and trash.

Oxford University students today ignored a ban on an age-old tradition of tossing food, alcohol and confetti after exams as the city's famous streets were covered in rubbish

Oxford University students today ignored a ban on an age-old tradition of tossing food, alcohol and confetti after exams as the city’s famous streets were covered in rubbish

Students have long been involved in “trashing” at the end of each academic year, ruining their classmates’ smart clothes as they leave the exam halls for the last time

But earlier this week, it emerged that the university and its colleges are trying to curb the practice, with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and the staggering cost of clean-up afterwards.

But earlier this week, it emerged that the university and its colleges are trying to curb the practice, with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and the staggering cost of clean-up afterwards.

But earlier this week, it emerged that the university and its colleges are trying to curb the practice, with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and the staggering cost of clean-up afterwards.

Christ Church decided to shut down his famous meadow for two hours, twice a day when exams end, so students can't go to the trash there

Christ Church decided to shut down his famous meadow for two hours, twice a day when exams end, so students can't go to the trash there

Christ Church decided to shut down his famous meadow for two hours, twice a day when exams end, so students can’t go to the trash there

However, the students still found a way to continue the tradition, in scenes that left the streets with foam and rubbish

However, the students still found a way to continue the tradition, in scenes that left the streets with foam and rubbish

However, the students still found a way to continue the tradition, in scenes that left the streets with foam and rubbish

A campaign said waste is 'disruptive' to the community, food waste 'reinforces negative stereotypes about Oxford students' and it costs the university £25,000 each year to clean up

A campaign said waste is 'disruptive' to the community, food waste 'reinforces negative stereotypes about Oxford students' and it costs the university £25,000 each year to clean up

A campaign said waste is ‘disruptive’ to the community, food waste ‘reinforces negative stereotypes about Oxford students’ and it costs the university £25,000 each year to clean up

Students are also often not allowed in Oxford's pubs and bars if they too have been 'thrown out'

Students are also often not allowed in Oxford's pubs and bars if they too have been 'thrown out'

Students are also often not allowed in Oxford’s pubs and bars if they too have been ‘thrown out’

James Lawrie, treasurer at Christ Church, said earlier this week: “Christ Church views trash as antisocial behavior that is food waste and potentially harmful to wildlife. this horrendous practice.’

A special campaign called #StopTrashing has been set up on the university’s website.

The page read: ‘We understand you want to celebrate after your exams, especially after this year’s challenges. However, trash has significant negative social, financial and personal consequences.”

It said waste is ‘disruptive’ to the community, that food waste is ‘reinforcing negative stereotypes about Oxford students’ and that it costs the university £25,000 each year to clean up.

Students are also often not allowed to enter Oxford’s pubs and bars if they are too ‘polluted’.

In 2019, students were convicted of vandalism at Christ Church Meadow, which was previously closed in 2017 to prevent the practice.

Oxford’s Student Union could not be reached for comment, but students in recent years described trash as fun and a way to blow off steam after exams.

Student surveys show they are reducing waste, with one group even making biodegradable confetti through a company called Eco-Trash, aiming to reduce its impact.

However, Oxford City Council is siding with the university’s hard line over the tradition, which is said to have started in the 1970s.

Mike Rowley, Oxford Council cabinet minister for citizen-centred services, said: ‘Waste can be costly to the local community and the environment.

This weekend alone, we had to spend over three and a half hours diverting resources to clean Merton Street, Oriel Square, Radcliffe Square and Quaking Bridge.

‘I would like to thank the university for their help with the cleanup: in 2019 they supported the cleanup with over £7k for the work it does after the trash.’

He added: “Please celebrate in a thoughtful way. Some celebrations have litter and other waste, including broken glass, scattered throughout the city center, causing unavoidable safety issues.

‘There is also a growing trend to use powder paint bombs that stain the pavement and are expensive and difficult to clean. We welcome students as part of Oxford’s vibrant and diverse community – don’t ruin it.’

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