Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Recycling and resource efficiency

University’s current targets are to increase the proportion of waste recycled by 3% annually, to reduce waste sent to landfill by 3% annually, and to send zero biodegradable waste to landfill by 2020.

It is best to follow the waste hierarchy:

  1. Prevent waste
  2. Prepare for reuse
  3. Recycle
  4. Recover

Only if none of the above are possible should an item be disposed of. Here are some ways to help you stick to these guidelines.

In 2012-13, the University diverted 84% of of it’s waste from academic and support buildings away from landfill. That’s about 3,000 tonnes.


First steps


Ordering and consuming less is the easiest way to cut down on waste. If you are ordering items then try and  consolidate ordering so you use less packaging. You can do this by ordering less frequently, or ordering for the whole building, school or department.
You can consolidate your materials. Making an inventory or having a stationery amnesty, can make sure you don’t order excess and get the most out of your current things.
Cut down on single use items. Try crockery, Bags for Life or Keep Cups (available at Accommodation Services catering outlets and the University shop) to avoid using wasteful disposable cups and packaging.

Our bins

Our standard recycling bins are never more than about 10 steps away in any University building. 


Did you know?

If you’re not sure where to put something, search this page to find out quickly.

Paper recycling symbol


only in places with lots of waste paper

  • all paper
  • newspapers
  • cardboard boxes

Dry recycling

Dry recycling symbol
  • clean plastic
  • plastic bags
  • rinsed pots
  • clean tin foil
  • all paper
  • newspapers
  • cardboard boxes


Food waste symbol

currently only in cafés

  • food
  • leftovers
  • Vegware
Other waste
Other waste symbol
  • coffee cups
  • crisp packets
  • wrappers
  • polystyrene
  • takeaway boxes

Taking things further


Sign up to our online portal called Warp It.

Here you can post and claim items that still have a life. Please contact us if you'd like a 'found on Warp It'  sticker to put on your items.

Learn more about Warp It

Become or elect a waste and recycling coordinator.

Training and support is available.

Learn more about coordinators

Work with your friends and colleagues to reduce food waste.

You can organise fridge checks, share food and order less catering. Discuss your options for food waste recycling by contacting the Waste team.

Contact the Waste team

Dispose of an old computer

Gives a decision step by step to dispose of a computer.

An old incubator finds a new lease of life

Shirley Simpson at the Hospital for Small Animals, and Steve McLean at QMRI talk about how they saved money and space by finding a new use for old equipment.

Easter Bush water bottle project

Brian McTeir shares progress from Easter Bush's transition from bottled water to water fountains, and the strategy to reduce the amount of cups used at the fountains.


Our goal is to reduce the use of unnecessary raw materials through the reuse of products and by encouraging and enabling recycling, composting and energy recovery.