Sustainable UCL


A new approach to recycling at UCL

19 September 2014



As part of UCL’s ongoing work to improve recycling rates, a new approach to waste and recycling is being introduced across the university. This includes a new way to segregate waste, the introduction of hundreds of news bins and a unified waste signage scheme. 


This new approach will include provision for three waste streams, instead of UCL’s previous two. These streams are: 

  • mixed recycling: all recyclable items should in the bins marked 'mixed recycling'. These materials just have to be dry and largely food-free. They're taken away and sorted at a 'Materials Recovery Facility' to ensure the highest amount of recyclable materials are collected (currently 93% of materials are recovered for recycling at this facility).
  • food only: all food waste should go in the bins marked 'food only' in orange. This is taken off-site and broken down using anaerobic digestion. 
  • non-recyclable waste: all those items that are left, items like food-contaminated containers, go in the bins marked 'non-recyclable waste'. These items are incinerated and the energy produced is used to generate energy. 

Please note: none of UCL's waste goes to landfill. Find out more about what types of materials go in each bin

Standardised bin signage is also being introduced across the campus. This aims to increase understanding of this approach. In areas in which new bins have not been provided, departments and divisions are encouraged to adopt this signage. Download and print signage in a variety of different sizes and shapes. 

If you have any questions, or would like more materials and resources to promote recycling in your department, please get in touch with the Sustainability Team. 

big signage new