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The Environment and Energy are shining the spotlight on waste and recycling at the University of Cambridge!

In 2015-16, the University disposed of 3,385 tonnes of operational waste (non-construction), a weight which is equivalent to that of almost two London Eyes! Of that total figure, 1,114 tonnes of operational waste was recycled giving the University an average recycling rate of 39% across standard bins. 


Guidance has been developed, that can be used throughout the month to engage and the tips below will help staff and students to cut the amount of waste we throw away, and increase the amount we recycle. For the curious among us Mick George, the University's waste contractor, has created a guide detailing how the University's waste is processed and where it travels to.


  • Complete the Spotlight on Waste quiz and you could win a prize
  • Collect incoming envelopes and reuse them instead of buying new (if your department is taking part in Green Impact this action could earn you 2 points ref: B015)
  • Providing reusable cups and glasses for visitors (B016, 4 points)
  • Correctly labelling bins to encourage more recycling – visit our Materials page to see what posters are available (B017, 7 points)
  • Send an email out, or mention at a departmental meeting letting staff know what can and can’t be recycled. Visit our A-Z list for a definitive guide (B019, 4 points)
  • Speak to your computer officer about setting all printers to double sides to reduce wasted paper (B020, 7 points)
  • Hold a stationery amnesty during November where all staff bring unused stationery from their workstations back to the stationery cupboard to reduce unnecessary purchases (S012, 4 points)
  • Sign up to WARPit, the University's re-use and sharing website to post unwanted office furniture or other usable resources for others to use
  • Do you know how much paper your department uses? This could be a good place to start. Read how Faculty of Education cut down their printing (G044, 2 points)
  • Hold a swap shop, or set up a swap point to rehome unwanted personal items such as clothes or toys (G045, 4 points)
  • Having a book collection point for swapping or donation (G046, 3 points)
  • Set up a system within your department for reusing stationery, envelopes, folders, files and good-quality one-sided paper (G047, 3 points)
  • Speak to your suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging or to enact a 'take back' scheme (G048, 6 points)
  • Take action to reduce the number of hand-outs taken to meetings (G049, 4 points)
  • Do away with disposable drinking cups and cones to reduce waste (G051, 5 points)
  • Tackle personal bins and move to central ones to increase recycling and encourage staff and visitors to think about how best to dispose their waste (G052, 6 points)
  • Instead of just throwing it in the recycling bin, why not contact the companies themselves to ask them to stop sending you unwanted and unsolicited mail and publications to reduce waste (G053, 6 points)
  • Carry out a waste audit to find out what your office or department are throwing away. This might highlight areas of misunderstanding about what is recycled (G054, 7 points)  

Reusing paper and envelopes at Plant Sciences   Bins labelled at Pharmacology   Obs and Gynae encouraging people to reuse their water bottle