Waste and the circular economy

The Circular Economy is about transitioning from a ‘take-make-dispose’ linear approach to resource use to systems that encourage reuse and extraction of maximum value before returning resources to the biosphere.

Smart people use refills, hashtag ZeroWasteUoE. Free water point sign. Reusable water bottle. Cute illustration.

Why is waste important?

Most activities generate waste in some form. Some of this waste is physical waste, for example, plastic packaging. This waste can build up in ecosystems (think plastics in the ocean). To address this issue, we all need to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle.

Waste at the University

Operational waste is managed by Estates, supported by the Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability in some specific areas.

Waste (Estates)

Waste Strategy

Types of waste we generate at the University:

  • Potentially reusable waste (for example, furniture or IT equipment)
  • Recyclable waste (for example, office paper)
  • Compostable waste (for example, food from our cafes)
  • General waste that is not currently recycled and is sent for incineration to be used for energy (e.g. contaminated food packaging and used paper towels)
  • Lab and specialist waste (ranging from chemicals to biological samples)
  • Waste from University accommodation

See the breakdown of our waste in our latest annual report

Our initiatives