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Office Recycling

The University generates more than a thousand tonnes of landfill each year. We are all responsible for recycling correctly.

The office recycling program is a key waste reduction strategy in the Campus Sustainability Plan and helps to align recycling practices at work with those at home.

How Does It Work?

Recycling station in kitchen

The Program involves installing centralised recycling stations (paper, organics, recycling and landfill) and removing individual and other general waste bins from an area.

Once individual bins have been removed, staff must use a recycling station to dispose of waste. Staff are also responsible for emptying their under-desk paper box into a large paper recycling bin when it gets full.

The program is rolled out building by building and includes communications to occupants on the process and what goes where.

The four bin system has been rolled out to more than 2,000 staff across the University of Adelaide and similar programs are in place in other Australian Universities. Having a structured recycling program has helped improve recycling rates on campus by nearly 200% over the past 5 years.

The action of walking to a recycling station as opposed to throwing items in a single bin, prompts staff to consider how they are disposing of their waste, leading to the formation of positive new habits.

Contact us to find out where your area is on the roll-out schedule.

If you have any cleaning or waste issues submit an Infrastructure Service Request.


  • "All these recycling bins could clutter the space and smell"

    The location of recycling stations considers the number of occupants and movement patterns through the building for maximum convenience and a good fit. Key staff within an area are involved in reviewing bin location maps prior to installation and bins can be moved or additional stations added if need be.

    Cleaners empty the recycling stations daily, so there's no need to worry about the smell.

  • "I don’t have time to walk to the station every time I want to put something in the bin"

    The time taken to walk to a recycling station away from your desk equates to a couple of minutes (at best) over the course of a day. Most staff take around 3 months to fill an under-desk paper box, meaning that they should only need to empty it a handful of times per year.

    The University’s HSW team recommends regular breaks from sitting at your desk for extended periods of time so consider your waste disposal good for your health!

  • "I don’t want waste sitting on my desk"

    Waste audits have shown that the majority of office waste is copy paper. By installing under-desk paper bins, the majority of your waste will now be recycled. The small amount of landfill you produce - such as a tissue, apple core or wrapper – is not of sufficient quantity to warrant a 10L waste bin and a new plastic liner every day.

    Consider reducing the amount of waste you produce, which in turn will reduce the number of times you need to walk to the bin:

    • Bring lunches and snacks in reusable containers (rubbish can be placed in here until you get up next)
    • Use a reusable coffee cup like a KeepCup for take-away coffee. Contact Ecoversity for a Keep Cup.
    • Put tissues in your pocket
    • Eat your lunch in staff common areas or outside in the fresh air, rather than at your desk
  • "I just don't think this is going to work for me"

    Of 2,000+ university staff and postgraduate students who have kicked their bins across the North Terrace and Waite campuses, the vast majority have been supportive of the program, but for some staff who are not in an Open Plan area, it can take a few weeks to get used to not having your own bin.

    If after trying for a few weeks it you feel the program is not going to work for you, you can request your under-desk waste bin back, however it will be up to you to empty it into a red landfill bin when it is full and to provide bin liners - the cleaners won’t touch it.

Infrastructure Engagement
North Terrace Campus
The University of Adelaide

Telephone: +61 8 8313 3763

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