skip to content


Environment and Energy


Shining a spotlight on waste and rethinking resource use at the University of Cambridge!

In 2016-2017, the University reduced the amount of operational waste (non-construction) sent to landfill from 2,009 tonnes to just 67 tonnes, and increased the recycling rate from 39% to 50%. However there's much more that can be done to meet the University's targets of reducing the waste we produce, recycling more of it and reducing what we send to landfill. During Spotlight on Waste months, we shine a spotlight on how we can all do our bit to Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle and Recycle.

Guidance has been produced for staff and students that can be used to engage and educate, and there's plenty of information on our recycling pages.

Spotlight on Waste

Spotlight on Waste tips.

The tips below are a great starter to help all staff and students cut the amount of waste we throw away, and increase the amount we recycle! These are all taken from the Green Impact workbook criteria - so if you complete these in your department or College it will take you part of the way towards a Green Impact award!

  • 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: B014)

  • Providing reusable cups and glasses for visitors (B015, 4 points)

  • Correctly labelling bins to encourage more recycling – visit our Materials page to see what posters are available (B016, 7 points)

  • Provided information on all reuse or recycling schemes accessible or applicable to departmental staff. This should include unusual waste such as batteries, electrical waste, bulky waste, as well as promotion of the WarpIT reuse service (B017, 4 points)

  • Ensure all printers default to double-sided printing as standard. (B018, 7 points)

  • Reduce the number of laser printers per desk-based member of staff. (S014, 7 points)

  • Ensure that waste electrical and electronic equipment is recycled following University guidelines. (S015, 8 Points)

  • Record the total number of photocopies and/or prints staff make, and report this back to staff/students (G056, 2 points)

  • Have a dedicated area where staff can donate unwanted items for re-use by other staff or for charity collection. (G057, 4 points)

  • Have a book collection point in the department to swap with each other and/or donate to charity (G058, 3 points)

  • Have a system for reusing stationery, envelopes, folders, files and good-quality one-sided paper and refresh regularly. (G059, 3 points)

  • Engage with one or more of its suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging supplied with their products or to engage suppliers in a 'take back' scheme, for example pallets or bottles. (G060, 6 points)

  • Take proactive measures to reduce the number of hand-outs taken to meetings.  (G061, 4 points)

  • Remove personal bins in favour of centrally located communal bins. (G064, 6 points)

  • Have a process in place for preventing unwanted and unsolicited mail and publications from being delivered. (G065, 5 points)

  •  Carry out a waste audit, and feed back the results to staff. (G066, 7 points)

  • Carry out a waste awareness activity or event, for instance during Spotlight on Waste Month in November. (G067, 9 points)


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