Recycling Station Upgrades

What projects are happening, when and where?

Sustainability Services has a rolling programme of upgrading recycling facilities within buildings to help achieve the University's target of recycling 60% of total waste generated (by weight) by 2024.

Phases 1 to 6 have already 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), Agriculture, 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: 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)

Further work needs to be done in the following buildings:

  • JJ Thompson & Maths/IT
  • Hopkins
  • TOB2
  • Park House
  • Russell

Why is my building not on the list?

Buildings were chosen for Phases 1-4 because either staff had made us aware that help was needed to improve recycling within the building, or because environmental audits had picked up specific issues which required action.  In addition, some areas were struggling with inconsistent colour coding and signage on bins.

Unfortunately we cannot upgrade all buildings on campus in one go; however we will be continuing this process across the campuses.  If you would like to nominate your building for future upgrades or have a specific recycling issue, please let us know at

What will happen during the upgrade?

    • More accessible, centralised recycling stations will be installed in buildings, ensuring that they do not block fire or access routes.
    • Existing containers will be reviewed, replaced or re-positioned as necessary to optimise availability.
    • A new standard labelling system will be introduced on all new and existing bins to ensure consistency between buildings across campus, which will reduce confusion over what should be put in which bin (including both pictorial and written instructions).
    • Desk-side bins will no longer be emptied and will be removed from offices three weeks after the centralised stations are installed (please refer to table above for dates for your building). This approach was initially adopted in Whiteknights House in 2013 and is now the norm across campus buildings.
    • Staff are welcome to discuss any concerns in person at the information stands (please refer to the table above for dates for your building).  You are welcome to drop off your desk-side bin ahead of schedule if you wish.

How will I find out more information?

We recognise that we need to communicate with staff and students to keep you informed about changes in your buildings.  We have already been working closely with Building Support Officers, Health and Safety Coordinators and other key staff.  We will ensure information is made available in a timely manner.  If you have any queries or concerns, please contact

Why do we need to upgrade?

Feedback from staff and students has consistently highlighted that there are either not enough recycling facilities inside buildings, or that the system is confusing. This is not helped by a variety of different labels, colour coding and styles of bins; this project will address this issue by improving consistency across buildings on campus.

The University disposed of approximatley 1000 tonnes of waste in 2018/19 - enough to fill several Olympic sized swimming pools! Currently the University recycles 56% 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 other 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 waste) is sent to landfill. 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 60% target, we need your help! 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. Find out more on how you can to get involved here.

Please contact if you have any suggestions or concerns.

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