Performance and Projects

The University of Reading aims to reduce the total amount of waste generated and increase its recycling rate, thereby minimising the impact that waste has on the environment, through improved facilities and initiatives.

Summer 2021: New Waste & Resource Use Strategy

The University published its new Waste & Resource Use Strategy (available here) in June 2021, following approval by the Environmental Sustainability Committee in June 2021. This new Strategy, covering the period from 2021 to 2030, is focused on responsible resource use and sustainable waste management, acknowledging the global, national and local drivers for improving the University’s environmental performance. We must aim to increase resource efficiency by doing more and better with less; to move away from the inefficient linear model of ‘take, make, use, throw’ towards a circular economy; to prevent waste being generated in the first place; to fulfil our legal obligations and align with the Waste Hierarchy; and to promote new opportunities and initiatives across the University.
Headline targets have been set as the basis for continual improvement:

  • Continue to reduce total waste produced per capita (staff and student FTE) year-on-year from the 2018/19 level of 50.9kg.
  • Increase re-use, remanufacture and repair year-on-year from the 2018/19 level of 11t.
  • By 2024, increase the University’s annual recycling rate to a minimum of 60% by weight and then maintain above this level for the duration of the Strategy.
  • By 2024, send less than 1% by weight of waste to landfill and then maintain below this level for the duration of the Strategy.
  • Review the University’s procurement practices to enable circular economy approaches to be developed by 2024.

The Strategy identifies key actions to meet these targets, including upgrading recycling facilities, improved communications and behavioural change initiatives, and reviewing opportunities to improve waste management processes. Increased regulatory focus on environmental impact and how to measure this, rather than solely on the weight of waste generated, may require the targets to be amended during the timeframe of the Strategy.

An initial 3-year Delivery Plan will be published once the University's new Estates Strategy has been published in autumn 2022, in order to enact the Waste & Resource Use Strategy and to monitor progress against its objectives and targets. Two further 3-year Delivery Plans will be written in 2024 and 2027.

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