Waste and resource management
We are committed to managing our waste as sustainably as possible and update our waste targets annually. Following Defra's Waste Hierarchy (PDF, 306kB) helps us maximise reuse, recycle as much as we can, and reduce the amount of waste produced. Where we can’t reuse or recycle, we use offsite recovery and energy generation technologies, meaning that less than 5 per cent of our overall waste ends up in landfill. See our Waste Management Guide for more information.
Reducing what we buy and throw away
We encourage all staff to consider the impact - both environmental and social - of everything they buy, in line with our sustainable procurement policies. Our Re-store scheme enables staff to advertise items they no longer need, so they can be reused elsewhere in the University. This helps us avoid waste, reduce expenditure, and minimise the impact of producing new items. If you're involved in running events, conferences or booking meetings why not look at our Sustainable Event guide to help you manage your impacts. Sustainable Events Guide (PDF, 4,666kB)
Our Plastic Plan
We are committed to eliminating and reducing our plastic footprint throughout the University. Our Plastic Action Plan (PDF, 2,586kB) for food and drink related items started with a ban on plastic water bottle sales from Source cafes in 2019 and our latest plastic free addition at Source cafes is the Husk Up! cup. It's made from rice husk, the outer shell of a grain of rice and a waste bi-product of rice milling. Rice husk is strong and high in silica meaning the Husk Up cup doesn't need to have melamine or polypropylene added.
Composting food waste
Avoiding throwing out food that could have been eaten will save you money and help reduce greenhouse emissions.
However, some food waste is inevitable, such as banana skins and tea bags. We collect food waste from all out staff kitchens and student residences. It is taken to a local facility where it is Anaerobically Digested into our compost and energy to power local homes. For more information on how you can reduce food waste visit Love Food Hate Waste. Further information can also be found in this guide to Compostable and Bio Packaging (PDF, 280kB).
Supporting Refill Bristol
We actively support Refill Bristol, an alternative to purchasing bottled water, by providing access to mains drinking water points all over the campus. This enables our staff, students and visitors to refill water bottles or cups and reduce the impact of single-use plastics.
Find your nearest campus Refill station:
- Richmond Building – 105 Queens Road, BS8 1LN
- Beacon House - Queens Avenue, BS8 1SE
- Geographical Science – University Road, BS8 1SS
- Wills Memorial Building – Queens Road, BS8 1RJ
- School of Education – 35 Berkeley Square, BS8 1JA
- Merchant Ventures Building – 75 Woodland Road, BS8 1UB
- Queens Building – University Walk, BS8 1TR
- School of Chemistry – Cantock’s Close, BS8 1TS
- Biomedical Science Building – Tankard’s Close, BS8 1TD
- School of Maths – University Walk, BS8 1TW
- Arts and Social Science Library – Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TJ
- Wills Physics Laboratory – Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TL
- Senate House – Tyndall Avenue, BS8 1TL
- Priory Road Complex – 12 Priory Road, BS8 1TU
Working with others
Working with local organisations helps us minimise waste whilst also having a positive impact on Bristol-based charities:
- We donate paint from maintenance and construction jobs to the Children’s Scrapstore, who reuse it as a low-cost creative play solution for local children’s groups.
- We give unwanted wood to the Bristol Wood Recycling Project, a non-profit social enterprise who work to provide affordable timber to the local community.
- Abandoned bikes are donated to the Bristol Bike Project or Life Cycle UK; we encourage staff and students to dispose of old bikes in the same way.
- The Big Give is a collaboration between UoB, UWE, and both students' unions. Every summer we encourage students who are moving out to recycle their waste correctly and donate unwanted items to charity.
Did you know?
We send less than 5 per cent of our waste to landfill
Donate any unwanted equipment or furniture using our internal re-use service.