Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy

The University is committed to implementing the European waste hierarchy of prevention, reduction, preparation for reuse, recycling, and recovery prior to disposal, aspiring to become a zero waste institution.

We work closely with the Waste & Environment team to deliver an increase in reuse and an improvement in recycling rates.

Thinking beyond the concept of waste, we represent the University as a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Network Universities programme, which facilitates sharing of knowledge and ideas, and on the Scottish Government’s Scottish Circular Economy Network.

Some of our events offer opportunities to discuss, debate and learn more about the issues and what you can do to get involved. 

Upcoming events

What we're doing

WARPit logo

Warp It

We run a reuse portal that allows you to post and claim items that still have a life. Over 400 staff are signed up across the whole University, and together have saved more than 100tCO2e.

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Understanding and communicating our waste streams

In order for our waste to be disposed of correctly and increase the proportion of waste recycled, we all need to know what to do with our waste.

We work with the Waste & Environment team to put in place effective communications across the University.

As part of this work, we have audited café bins to find out if our communications are effective. This enabled us to make changes that have resulted in a higher recycling rate in these spaces.

We worked with student volunteers, who valued the practical experience and understanding.

Waste & Recycling coordinators

We work with the Waste & Environment team to facilitate a network of around 40 staff volunteers who are local champions for best practice in waste disposal, recycling, and reuse.  Find out more and get involved.

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Research and policy

With support from Zero Waste Scotland, the Department facilitated a project between January and April 2015 with operational and academic colleagues to identify how principles of the Circular Economy can be embedded in Research, Learning & Teaching and Operations at the University of Edinburgh. 

Learn more about the circular economy

Practical advice

Our Be Sustainable guide includes detailed information on recycling and resource efficiency, as well as case studies of best practice from across the University. 

Learn more about how to be sustainable

Desktop PC reuse

With  support from Zero Waste Scotland we are taking  a closer look at how we can most effectively reuse and repair PC desktops within the University.

In our pilot stage, working in close partnership with Waste & Environment team, Information Services, and Records Management, we have facilitated the reuse of 100 PC desktops over 10 months, saving the University £25,000 in purchase of new machines.

Learn more