Paper cup recycling, and re-useable cups

Paper cup recycling

Good news! You can recycle disposable paper coffee cups in special cups bins around the campus.  Please look for the dedicated cup recycling points in and near cafés, catering outlets, and key locations such as foyers and seating areas (there is a list of locations below so you can find your closest bin).

These recycling bins predominantly have pink labels (see above), with a few that have blue labels (see left) - we hope to update the blue labelled bins in due course.  Please do not put paper cups in the green recycling bins - they must be collected separately from other recycling to allow them to go to a different, specialised recycling plant. Please empty your cups of dregs and tea-bags in the bin provided; then pop them in the cup collection bin and your cups will be made into lovely new paper products such as bags and notebooks.

For more facts about paper cups and what is happening nationally about paper cup recycling, visit the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group website.

Why can't I put paper cups in the green recycling bins?

Reducing and recycling single-use packaging (such as paper cups) is something staff and students frequently ask us about.  Paper cups are tricky to recycle, because they commonly have a polyethylene lining bonded to the cardboard, which is hard to separate using conventional recycling processes.  Although the technology does exist to do this, it's not currently installed in most recycling plants.  The University’s waste contractor has found a recycling plant that is able to process paper cups and turn them into high-quality paper products, but this means that cups have to be collected separately on campus in dedicated paper cup recycling bins.

Shouldn't we be using re-useable cups instead?

Re-useable cups are an excellent way of reducing waste by avoiding using paper cups in the first place! However, we acknowledge that in some cases people prefer to use disposable cups for a variety of reasons, and we would like them to have the opportunity to recycle those cups and reduce their environmental impact.

That doesn’t mean that the University is standing still when it comes to re-useable cups and packaging! However, it will take time to solve the disposable/re-useable issue, as it is important to find a long-term solution that balances the needs of sustainability and consumers, whilst maintaining a high standard of catering service at the University.  There are a range of initiatives which have already been implemented by Catering Services.  Find out more about what is happening below and on the Sustainable Catering pages.

Soft drinks – the re-useable Sustain-it bottle for use in the Freestyle Machines has already proved hugely popular, and has helped to cut the use of single-use plastic bottles and cups; as well as providing improved access to drinking water.

China cups/mugs in cafés – Several of the cafés across campus will provide a china cup/mug for your coffee or tea if you are drinking in – just ask!  This includes DolChe Vita Café, Henley Business School Café, ICMA Café, Park Eat, Library Café, and Architecture Café.

Bringing your own re-useable mug – You are welcome to bring your own re-useable mugs to any of the cafés on campus; and re-useable cups are sold at all Catering outlets.

Paper cup tax – Catering levy a 20p charge for paper cups at their cafés to encourage the use of re-useable cups instead.  The profits of this tax are ring-fenced for Catering sustainability initiatives.

Delivered hospitality catering – This is a tricky issue, as by its nature flexibility is needed when delivering catering to meet the varied needs of staff and student events.  This makes it challenging to balance sustainability, convenience, health and safety issues (transporting lots of heavy china) and costs.  If your department already owns a set of re-useable mugs, it is possible to request delivered catering supplied without paper cups, and Sustainability is working with Catering to try and make this easier.  You can also request china mugs for a small charge.  If you do have paper cups delivered, please remember to recycle them!  The Porters have a set of paper cup recycling bins you can borrow for your events - please contact them to discuss (

Where's my closest paper cup recycling bin?

Paper cup recycling bins are currently located at:


  • LG floor – café
  • UG floor – main foyer
  • 1U – seating area outside room 1U06
  • 2U – Seating area outside room 2U06

Allen Lab

Floor 1 at the Archaeology link corridor


Ground floor seating area

Blandford Lodge

Ground floor foyer


  • Ground floor foyer
  • First floor foyer
  • Inside classroom 101
  • Inside classroom 201


  • Ground floor – Foyer
  • 1st Floor – seating area


Outside ground floor lecture theatre


Next to built in recycling stations

Edith Morley

  • Ground floor – foyer outside the café
  • Ground floor – tower, outside lift
  • 1st Floor – foyer at Van Emden lecture theatre
  • 1st Floor – tower staircase, in seating area
  • 2nd Floor – outside SACLL (room 230)
  • 2nd Floor – tower staircase, in seating area
  • 3rd Floor – tower staircase, in seating area

Foxhill House

Student Common Room

Harry Nursten

Link Corridor to Chemistry

Harry Pitt, Psychology and Meteorology

  • Ground floor – Harry Pitt reception
  • 1st Floor – Meteorology, inside 1L61
  • 1st Floor – Meteorology common room/tea point
  • 1st Floor – Harry Pitt student common room 155
  • 1st Floor – Meteorology, outside room 1U12
  • 2nd Floor – Psychology, outside room 2U04

Health & Life Sciences

Ground floor - next to café & Cole Museum

Henley Business School (Whiteknights)

  • Ground floor – next to café
  • Ground floorr – next to Lecture Theatre
  • Ground floor – opposite seating/next to staircase
  • 1st Floor – study space seating
  • 2nd floor – study space seating

Henley Business School (Greenlands) – Re-useable cup scheme in place


Ground floor foyer


  • Usually opposite cafe counter - may be moved during events
  • In open seating area

IT Services / DTS – see JJ Thompson

JJ Thompson, Maths and IT/DTS

  • LG floor outside Slingo and Ditchburn lecture theatres
  • Ground floor – JJ Thompson support hub
  • Ground floor – Maths building, near IT/DTS link corridor
  • 2nd Floor – JJ Thompson print room 206


Various locations across the floors; and at the in-built recycling points in the Café

London Road - Architecture

  • Ground floor by Café
  • Upstairs in large lecture/workshop space

London Road - MERL

MERL have their own scheme in place; please ask staff for assistance

London Road - other buildings

  • L14 Student study space
  • The Dairy will accept cups which were sold from their café - hand your cup back to staff for recycling
  • L16 foyer/reception
  • L22 main entrance
  • L33 main entrance


Ground floor near kitchenette/classroom

Maths – see JJ Thompson

Meteorology – see Harry Pitt


Main entrance foyer, near vending machines


Ground floor near staircase

Old Whiteknights House

Ground floor main entrance hall


  • Foyer (by main entrance)
  • Foyer (in middle of open area

Park Eat

Near built in recycling stations

Polly Vacher

Ground floor, next to water fountain

Psychology – See Harry Pitt

Russell Building

Ground floor foyer


Various locations inc. in Starbucks Café


In Café at main entrance

St Patrick's Hall Shamrock Cafe

At recycling station

Staff Common Room, Park House

In Staff Common Room Lounge, on 1st floor


Outside Department of Art office


Far end of corridor near Student Study space


Main foyer


Near room 126

Wantage Hall Kitchen

At recycling station in eatery

Whiteknights House

Ground floor foyer, near vending machines/Security office

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