Recycling Station Upgrades

What projects are happening, when and where?

Sustainability Services has had a rolling programme of upgrading recycling facilities within buildings since 2013 to help achieve the University's target of recycling over 60% of total waste generated (by weight) each year. We have been working closely with Building Support Officers, Health and Safety Coordinators, and other key staff to ensure that facilities are appropriate for each building, and that information has been made available to staff and students in a timely manner.

Phases 1 to 7 have now been undertaken and have covered a substantial proportion of the estate, including the following buildings:

  • Phase 1: ICMA, Henley Business School and Edith Morley building.
  • Phase 2: Palmer, URS, TOB1 (Art), TOB2, Agriculture, Russell, Miller, Wager, Archaeology and Allen Laboratory buildings.
  • Phase 3: Carrington, London Road Campus and MERL offices, Harry Pitt, Meteorology, Psychology, Polly Vacher, Harborne, Lyle, Park House and external litter bin refurbishment.
  • Phase 4: Hopkins, Chemistry/Pharmacy and Harry Nursten buildings; plus paper cup recycling bins in many buildings.
  • Phase 5: RUSU building.
  • Phase 6: Health & Life Sciences building (as part of the final fit-out).
  • Phase 7: JJ Thompson and Maths/IT.

If you think that your building still requires bin upgrades, or has a specific recycling or waste issue, please let us know via

Why do we need to upgrade?

Feedback from staff and students consistently highlighted that there were either not enough recycling facilities inside buildings, or that the system was confusing. This was not helped by a variety of different labels, colour coding and styles of bins. This project has addressed these issues by improving consistency across buildings on campus.

The University disposed of approximately 500 tonnes of day-to-day waste in 2020/21 - enough to completely fill an Olympic sized swimming pool! Currently the University recycles 60% of its waste, however, we could recycle more. Improving consistency and availability of communal recycling stations, and moving away from using desk-side bins has shown improvements in recycling rates in buildings on campus.

Waste which is put in black sacks, and therefore can't be recycled, is sent to an 'Energy from Waste' plant where it is incinerated and the heat generates electricity via a turbine. Less than 2% of the University's waste (mostly specialist clinical or hazardous waste) is sent to special landfill sites. Incineration and landfill are more expensive than recycling (the University has to pay more per kilo for general waste disposal than recycling), and are also not as beneficial for the environment.

To achieve our target, and to keep recycling over 60% of our waste, we need your help! Please ensure you reduce generation of waste in the first place, then re-use items whenever possible, and finally recycle materials when you need to get rid of them; and encourage colleagues to do the same. More information about re-use and recycling.

What happened during the upgrade?

    • Existing bins have been reviewed, replaced or re-positioned as necessary to optimise availability.
    • More accessible, centralised recycling stations have been installed in buildings, ensuring that they do not block fire or access routes.
    • A new standard labelling system has been introduced on all new and existing bins to ensure consistency between buildings across campus, which has reduced confusion over what should be put in which bin (including both pictorial and written instructions).
    • Individual/under-desk bins will no longer be emptied (and have been removed from offices, where appropriate, after the centralised stations were installed). This approach was initially adopted in Whiteknights House in 2013 and is now the norm across campus buildings.

How do I find out more information?

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact

Skip to content