Skip to main content


Waste and Recycling




Waste and recycling is an area where everyone can make a difference. Our new interactive map is coming soon (watch this space!) which shows where all the recycling bins are on campus.  If new to recycling, the images on the bins makes it clear what goes inside them. We would encourage you to think about whether an item can be reused instead of recycled or disposed of - reuse is the more sustainable option. Please see our A-Z of what you can recycle.

notepad with 'reduce reuse recycle' written on it

In 2021/22 approximately 88% of our waste was reused (Warp It), recycled or recovered (waste to energy, anaerobic digestion). If you are interested in how we measure and track our waste, see our Waste Summary 2021/22 for information on waste generated, treatment/disposal type and waste stream. Waste accounts for less than 1% of the University’s total carbon emissions but has a significant impact on the environment so we still need to think about how we manage it.

Avoiding waste is the ideal solution, because then there is no need to consider options for recycling or disposing of material. The waste hierarchy is a long established guide which illustrates the order in which waste management measures should be prioritised based on environmental impact. Everyone has a duty of care to dispose of waste safely.

What are we doing?

We continue to seek new and innovative ways to dispose of waste and initiatives to help everyone reduce, reuse and recycle. We would encourage everyone who uses our campuses to think about waste and how they can reduce it. 

  • Working group established to investigate the feasibility of creating an off-campus resource hub for improving resource management and enabling reuse and recycling of University waste using the most sustainable methods and promoting circular economy
  • Continued focus on further reduction of single use plastics  
  • Enhancing reuse through expansion of the Moving On project  
  • Developing regular reuse pop-up events  
  • Investigating opportunities for student reuse

Visit Warp It Reuse Network. to find out about options for reuse (Warp It is only available to staff at present).  Our reuse section will be coming shortly with more details about the circular economy. 

Campus map - watch this space for our interactive map which is coming soon. It will show details of what you can recycle and recycling points on campus.

How to dispose of your waste  

Waste A-Z - from aerosols to wood - common waste types and details on how to recycle or dispose of them. 

What we are doing

  • Waste composting - we are working with academics, professionals, industry and manufacturers to investigate the opportunity of introducing in-vessel composting to the South West in order to correctly process compostable packaging.
  • A waste tender process is underway which is identifying opportunities for improved segregation and treatment of our waste from suppliers of five of our existing waste streams:
    • Chemical & lab waste
    • Clinical waste
    • WEEE – IT  
    • WEEE – electrical  
    • Paper – confidential & ‘regular’
  • Tetrapak recycling scheme introduced
  • We are continuing to focus on further reduction of single-use plastics
  • Our new Waste and Resource strategy is in development, while we undertake extensive consultations with our external and internal stakeholders, together with exploring innovation within waste contract services  
  • Visit our reuse section to find out more about options for reuse, including the Warp It reuse network

All this takes time so our 2016-2022 Waste and Resource Strategy has been extended for a further year. 

The Sustainable Bought Goods & Services Policy and The Responsible Procurement Checklist enable environmental and sustainable considerations in the purchase of all bought goods and services, including consideration on whether existing assets can be reused or shared. 

University of Exeter Waste Management Standard

Our Waste Management Standard sets out the responsibilities for the requirements of the management of waste: University of Exeter Waste Management Standard 2021