Sustainable UCL


Stay in The Loop

Reducing waste and making sure materials are recycled is an essential part of creating a more sustainable UCL – and the best bit is we all play a part whenever we choose which bin to use. We recycle 56% of our waste, and the rest is recovered for energy. As well as decreasing overall waste, we have a target to increase recycling to 85%. We’re trying to make the bins on campus as easy to use as possible, but it will take change from everyone, staff and students, to make this happen. As 89% of UCL students and staff say they recycle all the time or most of the time, we know there’s a lot of people who will welcome the changes!

We've got lots to celebrate

Currently we recycle 56% of our waste. We're a zero to landfill university meaning that the waste that we don't recycle, is recovered for energy. Our food waste goes to anaerobic digestion to be turned into energy and our coffee beans fuel London buses! All of our waste is processed in the UK.

But we can do better

In the 2019/20 academic year 1,356,258 kg of waste was recovered for energy, according to the Higher Education Statistics Authority. Meeting our goal of 85% would mean recycling another 894,050 kg: that’s the equivalent mass of 422 double decker buses per year! This is because some of UCL's recycling gets contaminated by the wrong waste going in the wrong bin, so it’s important to know what goes where. 

That's why we've 'bin' busy

We've been working with environmental charity Hubbub to launch our new 'Stay in the Loop' campaign to help us achieve our targets. We want to improve awareness of what can be recycled, the benefits of recycling and the role we all have to play to keep our waste in #theloop to be used again and again. We’re piloting new bin signage and posters across campus in select areas to see if this improves our recycling rates. Spot the new bin signage on campus at Bidborough House, the Student Centre, Wilkins Building and Refecotry, 22 Gordon Street, 25 Gordon Street Cafe, Print Room Cafe and John Godson House. 

Posters and resources for you to download and put up in your classrooms, labs or kitchens are available here, so everyone can stay in the loop!

Image of recycling signage

Check before you chuck

We’ve got three main streams of waste; green bins, orange bins and black bins. Find out where to put those tricky items.

Photograph of cables

Recycle trickier items

Find out where to dispose electrical and IT equipment, batteries, hazardous waste, furniture and toner and print cartridges.


Use Warpit to share items and equipment

Warpit is easy-to-use website allowing staff to share unwanted furniture and equipment with other departments.

Help everyone stay in 'the Loop'

Display recycling signage in your office or lab

Conduct a basic waste audit in your department to improve recycling here.