Skip to main content
About us

Waste and Recycling

We are committed to reducing the impact our waste has on the enviroment and working towards reducing total waste produced, applying the waste hierachy to all materials collected. 

Waste Overview

We generated 1,588 tonnes of general wastes waste across our Mile End, Whitechapel and Charterhouse Square campuses during the 2018/19 academic year, costing us a total of £242,538. Recyclable materials represented 33% of the total general wastes collected across our main campuses.

  • Mixed Recycling: This is taken to a material recovery facility (MRF) where the different materials are separated out and baled. These bales are then sold to various mills where they are used to make new products.
  • Non-recyclable Waste or General Waste: QMUL became a zero waste to landfill University in 2017 meaning this waste is taken by barge down the Thames to an energy from waste incinerator where it is burned to generate electricity for over for 160,000 London homes.


  • At the end of every semester, the Students' Union and Residences run our Reuse Scheme which collects university essentials from departing students to give them a second life with new students for free at our Reuse Fairs each January and September. Since 2017 we have given over 2300 kg of usable items a new life. 
  • Food Waste: As part of our commitment to reducing food waste we use the Too Good to Go app to sell excess food from University and Students' Union outlets at the end of the day. During 2018/19 we saved 797 meals from going to waste. As well as this from January to March we work with Hackney Winter Night Shelter to provide any extra food at the end of the week to the shelter's residents. Find out more about these initiatives in the sections below. 
  • During the 2018/19 academic year staff and students donated nearly 15,000 books for reuse and recycling through our Better World Books banks at libraries across our campuses.  Books resold through this scheme help to raise money for libraries and global literacy charities. 
  • Our British Heart Foundation donation banks near our student residences from August 2018 to August 2019 collected 1672 bags of donations to be resold in BHF shops, raising £14,000 in the process. 
  • We've established collections for food waste and waste oil produced by our commercial kitchens. Annually we collect approximately 24 tonnes of food waste which is used to create biogas and fertiliser as well as waste cooking oil to be recycled as biodiesel fuel for London taxis. 

Commitments: Waste and Recycling

  • We will continue to ensure that so far as possible general waste generated from our main UK campuses is not disposed of in landfill. We will reduce the total annual operational waste produced by the university and ensure that no general waste is disposed of on landfill.
  • We will continue to implement measures to increase the proportion of recyclable materials collected from our main UK campuses. We will recycle at least 50% of the general waste generated from our main UK campuses by 2030.
  • We will continue to promote the economic and environmental benefits of minimising waste and appropriately segregating recyclable materials from general waste across all our campuses.

Find out more about our efforts to reduce waste on campus and where to dispose of materials via the links below or for more information please email Estates Helpdesk

If you could not find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question for the QMUL Sustainability team, please get in touch by email

In addition, you can get regular updates by following QMUL Sustainability on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter below.


Back to top