Waste management

Managing this waste responsibly is a key focus and one of our strategic priorities.  

With this aim the University has defined two targets: 

  • 10% reduction in non-residential waste mass per staff and student FTE by 2025.
  • 40% non-residential recycling rate from total waste mass by 2025.

This will in turn reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste disposal costs.

Did you know?

The University produces over a 1,000 tonne of solid waste a year, creating almost 500 tonnes of CO2e. Processing general waste creates four times more CO2e emissions than dry mixed recycling.

 
Upside-down pyramid with words (top to bottom) - 'Waste prevention; Reuse; Recycle; Energy recovery; Disposal'

The waste hierarchy is a good way to think about how we manage waste: the best option is to prevent waste from being produced in the first place, and the least preferred option is disposal or landfill. The higher up the waste hierarchy our actions are, the better for the environment.

We are managing waste by:

  • preventing and reducing waste in the first place. We aim to do this by giving staff, students and visitors the support they need to make greener choices. 

  • increasing the reuse of materials across the University through sharing portal WARPit. With WARPit, a department or college can post or claim otherwise unwanted items from across the University. The most popular items are office furniture and office supplies but there is so much more. Using WARPit can really help departments to reduce their purchasing and disposal costs, as well as helping the University reduce its environmental impact. 

  • working with our waste service provider, Select Environmental, to increase recycling and to monitor waste production. For the correct recycling of the most common materials, see our waste guide and the A-Z of Recycling

  • working in partnership across the Collegiate University to develop solutions for reducing waste and increasing recycling. 

  • diverting our general waste to energy recovery. No non-hazardous University waste goes to landfill.

Take action

Join Green Impact 

Green Impact, the University's environmental accreditation scheme, plays a pivotal role in this. The scheme supports and encourages departments and colleges across the University to reduce their own environmental impacts, with practical ways to reduce waste, use materials wisely and reduce costs. 

Five tips to help manage waste  

  1. Consider if you really need to buy a new item – how often will you use it? What will happen to it later? Can you borrow the item from another department, find it on WARPit or buy in partnership to share the cost and increase the use?     
  2. Consider giving up your desk bin. Using communal waste stations for general waste and recycling increases the recycling rates.
  3. Share unwanted items with other departments that may need them on WARPit, and look for pre-used items before purchasing new. We also offer a reuse scheme for lab-based equipment – UniGreenScheme, an asset resale service in which departments receive a portion of the resale value. Read the user guide for more information
  4. Make sure your dry mixed recycling is clean and uncontaminated. Follow the signs to recycle correctly.
  5. If in doubt, find out! Check our waste guide and A-Z recycling if you are not sure what to do with your waste, or contact us if you're still not sure.

Hazardous waste disposal

The University has a policy and process to manage the appropriate disposal of hazardous waste. For all matters concerning hazardous waste staff should consult the Safety Office’s hazardous waste information .

 

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Get in touch


+44 (0) 1865 6 14605

sustainability@admin.ox.ac.uk