Waste: what you can do

By managing your waste, you can help to decrease the impact that the University’s operations have on the environment, by reducing the waste we create and send to landfill.

Reduce waste

Reusable coffee cups from Portland Coffee Co and University of Nottingham

    • Start by assessing where you’re at. This waste audit table from Zero Waste Week helps you do exactly that. Why not challenge yourself to record everything you throw away in a week and identify where you could improve?
    • Use a reusable tea/coffee mug in your office, instead of getting a drink in a takeaway cup from a cafe to take back to your desk. At the university, there is a Latte Levy, where you can save up to 40p.
    • Refill a water bottle instead of buying a new bottle every time – there are water fountains across campus for you to fill up at. 
    • Buy fruit and veg without the plastic packaging. Bring your own bag for fruit and veg or buy them loose.
    • Reduce your paper consumption by printing on both sides of the paper and printing several pages/slides to a page.
    • Only print what you need to – could you read that document on screen rather than producing a paper copy?
    • Use ‘Track Changes’ in Word, instead of printing and marking on changes – this also saves time for document amendments.
    • Buy food in larger quantities. You could get a massive bag of rice and share it with your house. You could get a shared bag of crisps instead of 6 individual bags – often these are better value too.
    • When purchasing new items, look for durable items that are built to last, can easily be repaired and do not have excessive packaging.
    • Shop at zero waste shops. Bring your own containers – jars, bottles, Tupperware, whatever you have – and fill them with pasta, beans, shower gel, washing-up liquid etc.
      • Waste Nott in Sherwood, Nottingham, opened as a community project to provide an alternative to packaged food retailers.
      • The Good Weigh in West Bridgford makes it easy for you to shop plastic-free.
      • Shop Zero on Friar Lane in Nottingham’s city centre, which only sells products that help the planet.
      • SUstainable, is a zero-waste and sustainable shop right at the heart of the SU.

Reuse items

      • Buy rechargeable batteries rather than disposable ones.
      • Ask suppliers to take back unwanted packaging for reuse.
      • Make use of the British Heart Foundation donation points on and off campus.
      • Sell your old textbooks to Blackwell's as part of their Second-Hand Buy Back scheme.
      • Check out the University's Bookcrossing zone before buying new books.
      • Reuse old printouts as scrap paper where possible.
      • Use old envelopes for sending internal mail.
      • Shop second-hand and pass on the items you no longer want. Most second-hand stuff is cheaper than new or even free, so it’s good for your wallet as well.

Some places to try:

    • Freegle and Freecycle - People advertise items they no longer want for free.
    • Facebook marketplace - a digital platform integrated with Facebook, where users can buy, sell, and trade various items with others in their local community.
    • Gumtree - the first site for free classifieds ads in the UK. Buy and sell items, cars, properties, and find or offer jobs in your area.
    • Vinted - an online platform where individuals can buy, sell, and swap secondhand clothing and accessories.
    • Depop – a mobile app that allows users to create their own online shops to buy and sell vintage, pre-owned, and unique items, with a focus on fashion and lifestyle products.
    • Look out for local charity shops, some top charity shop spots are Beeston, and Hockley in the city centre.

Recycle/compost items

  • There are mixed recycling bins in offices, libraries and cafes on campus, where you can recycle paper, cards, plastics and tins.
  • In cafes, you can recycle corn starch plates and food waste (anything biodegradable) in the green food waste bins – this waste is sent for composting.
  • Batteries can be recycled at the collection points located in all libraries and other building locations.
  • Glass can be recycled in the external ‘bring sites’ located throughout campus. See where these are located by using our recycling point maps.
  • Pens can be recycled on campus in most libraries.

Posters for internal bins [PDF]

The relevant poster should be placed in the poster holder attached to the bin.



Sustainability Team

Estate Office, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD