Minimising waste

Since 2007, the University has been monitoring, measuring and reporting internally on landfill wastes and separation for recycling. Large-scale, comprehensive audits are undertaken every 2-3 years to provide insights into the composition of the waste, including food waste. The data are used to prioritise and design interventions to minimise waste in landfill.

The last large-scale audit was in 2019 as part of an ambitious project to bring carbon monitoring to international standards and set a verified baseline for sustainability measures. Since then, we have continued to prepare and externally verify our annual greenhouse gas emissions inventories, which include waste as one of the measures.

In 2021, the University sent 1109 tonnes of solid waste to landfill for disposal. We recovered 299 tonnes for recycling materials such as paper, cardboard, glass, aluminium, steel, and selected plastics.


The University requires all of the commercial kitchens that operate on its campuses to minimise their food waste and separate any pre-, and post-consumer food waste for composting. The Faculty of Science is integrated into this service, with staff and post-graduate students separating food waste from their kitchens for composting. Similar staff-driven models are in place in staff kitchens and other areas across the University. In 2021, 101 tonnes of food waste were diverted from landfill and composted as part of this ongoing programme.

Reducing event waste

Since the introduction of the University’s Sustainable Events Guide in 2019, over 400 event organisers used this guide to implement sustainability initiatives in more than 11,000 events.

What you can do

  • Think carefully about any purchases you feel compelled to make, and avoid unnecessary consumption
  • Choose products that are more durable, and have fewer environmental impacts
  • Avoid replacing products that are still functional
  • Repair, rather than replace, repairable items
  • Find new homes for used furniture by letting staff and students know they are available
  • Donate leftover stationary items to your local kindergarten
  • Use the Sustainable Events Guide and associated checklist to help make your next event more sustainable 
  • Separate cardboard and paper for recycling
  • Recycle toner cartridges