Waste management

The University of Surrey aims to divert 100% of its waste from landfill and turn waste into a resource, pushing it up the waste hierarchy by conversion, recycling, reuse and reduction. To achieve this, the University is working with and utilising the waste policy implemented by its waste contractor ‘Chambers’.

Chambers Waste Policy

(640.3 KB .PDF)

How do we sort our waste

To help staff, students and visitors easily sort waste, we have recently moved towards segregation across three waste streams:

  • Mixed, general waste and recycling.
  • Glass.
  • Food waste and biodegradable packaging.

We use this method as it limits the potential for contamination of waste streams which can reduce recycling rates. Instead, the waste undergoes a further segregation process off-site to ensure each material can be recovered separately and sent for further processing. All our waste is weighed by our waste contractor as segregated amounts. With the data being used to drive improvements to recycling and reuse rates.

Key successes

Other successful measures we have taken include:

  • We have taken a pledge to stop providing single-use plastic cups across campus and replace these with compostable cups which are 100% vegetable derived. 
  • The introduction of Vegware compostable cutlery, plates and cups has significantly reduced the use of single-use plastics across our campus.
  • The introduction of food waste bins in our residences has resulted in 60 per cent of additional food waste being separated and composted. 

What's next?

Our long-term goal is to have all staff, students and visitors use a reusable cup or bottle at our refill points. To make it easier to do so, the university offers 106 refill points around campus, allowing staff, students and visitors to refill their bottles. 

Our team is actively developing plans to promote furniture recycling on campus and enhance our waste segregation efforts. We're collaborating with suppliers to minimize packaging waste, enhance construction waste reporting, and donate or repurpose furniture and appliances left behind by students at the end of each semester. Our goal is to make these initiatives more visible and effective.


Progress on waste management is reported quarterly by Environmental Sustainability Steering Group. To find out more about our various working groups, visit our governance page