University Becomes First in Wales to Reach Important Waste-Reduction Milestone

16th June 2023

Swansea University’s commitment to sustainability and minimising waste has been recognised by the Carbon Trust.

It has just become the first Welsh university to achieve the prestigious Zero Waste to Landfill certification. The Carbon Trust is a global climate consultancy driven by the mission to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future. Its Zero Waste to Landfill certification recognises organisations which demonstrate leadership in waste management.

Swansea had previously achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for year-on-year reduction of total waste and now this new success comes after a rigorous six-month auditing process and independent verification.

Swansea University Waste & Recycling Officer Fiona Wheatley said the accreditation was the culmination of a hard work and collaboration. She said:

"Working with the Carbon Trust and our waste management supplier Mitie to achieve this certification has been an excellent exercise in evaluating the journey of all our waste streams.
“We can now confidently state we are a Zero Waste to Landfill university. Given we have more than 40 waste streams, due to the breadth of our research, this accreditation has been a significant undertaking, and we are thrilled with the outcome.”

The University is a research-heavy institute and, as its waste streams include hazardous wastes, this is a significant achievement. The certification demonstrates the University’s commitment to improving waste management practices and identifying new ways of recycling waste and diverting items from landfill.

To achieve the accreditation, it has also worked with suppliers to ensure no waste goes to landfill, looked to reduce single-use items through sustainable procurement and fulfilled the goals set out in its Sustainability and Climate Emergency Strategy 2021-25).

Figures for the 2021-22 academic year showed no waste went to landfill and the University diverted more than 63 per cent of all waste into energy recovery by focusing on reuse and recycling, composting and sending food waste for anaerobic digestion which produces biogas and bio-fertilisers.

Going forward the University’s sustainability team aims to:
  • Continue working to eliminate all single-use items from food and drink outlets;
  • Focus on minimising and eliminating single-use laboratory plastic;
  • Install more than 131 water refill point across both campuses to reduce plastic waste;
  • Introduce 25p discount for anyone using a reusable coffee cup;
  • Replace single-use plastic cutlery with sustainable compostable wood alternatives; and,
  • Replace plastic drinks straws with compostable alternatives across campus catering and the Students’ Union.
Head of Sustainability Teifion Maddocks said:
“Achieving the Carbon Trust’s Zero Waste to Landfill certification really demonstrates our University’s leadership and management to driving down the creation of waste, diverting it from incineration and landfill.
“The accreditation illustrates our collective efforts to optimising waste avoidance, create a community of reuse and recycling, boosting the circular economy, driving down emissions on our path to net zero by 2035.”
Find out more about sustainability at Swansea University

Swansea University are an Educational Member of the EAUC. Learn more about our membership offers here.
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