12. Waste and Recycling

Any changes in 2013?

No. Throughout 2013 People & Planet will be reviewing all Green League criteria for 2014 onwards, including developing additional criteria to measure waste mass and recycling rates more accurately, in relation to construction waste streams, as well as residential and non-residential waste streams.

image of a landfill
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Rubbish Waste Disposal

Why measure this?

By not recycling, institutions are burying and burning resources unnecessarily, wasting money on landfill taxes as well as contributing to pollution and climate change. There is currently no firm recycling target for the higher education sector, but evidence from previous league tables shows that many institutions can achieve at least 70% recycling rates. The People & Planet Green League ranks institutions according to the proportion of total waste mass they recycle, as compared to the rest of the sector, although no institution recycling less than 25% of their waste will receive points in this category.

Recognising that reducing waste is environmentally superior to recycling waste, the People & Planet Green League awards up to four points for the waste mass per head produced by institutions, as compared to other institutions.

In previous years, People & Planet has calculated figures for this criteria using the EMS data for total waste mass including construction waste. However, as construction waste varies greatly year to year it does not always reflect the quality of waste management practices that a university has implemented. Furthermore, as a large number of universities do not report their construction waste figures the Green League Oversight Group has questioned whether all universities are reporting their construction waste figures accurately. As a result of these concerns the People & Planet Green League has removed construction waste from the calculations for 11b Waste mass per head. As waste from construction is responsible for significant environmental impacts People & Planet is committed to finding more appropriate ways to assess this area in future years. A review of this performance criterion in underway and from 2014 we will score institutions based on figures for both waste mass and waste recycling excluding construction waste.

How is this criteria assessed?

Total: 8 points

11 a) Percentage of waste an institution recycles

0-4 Points


  • Point allocation is calculated by comparing percentage with other institutions. You can view allocation of points from the previous year here.
  • Data taken from EMS: “Waste mass recycled”, “Construction waste mass recycled”, “Waste mass”, “Construction waste mass”.
  • From 2014 this calculation will not include construction waste.

11 b) Waste mass per head

0-4 Points


  • Point allocation is calculated by comparing waste mass per head with other institutions.
  • Data taken from “D73.C01 Waste mass”, “D73.C15 Construction waste mass”, “D04 Student FTE” and “D05 FTE staff” of EMS.
  • Does not include construction waste.

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