Reducing Waste
Our campuses typically generate around 394 tonnes of waste annually. In order to reduce our environmental impact we are continually researching new opportunities to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle throughout the University.

Waste on campus

 We work with a range of partners to reuse and find alternative homes for equipment and items that we no longer required.  In terms of our general waste streams, typically 80% of waste generated is recycled.  The remaining 20% is used as refuse-derived fuel.

Within the 2020/21 academic year we audited, repurposed and repositioned all internal bins throughout all campuses. The project included development and promotion of new and clearer signage to help everyone manage their waste appropriately.


There is an array of information available to help at home or wherever you generate waste. Support includes the handy Recycling Sorter Tool developed by Zero Waste Scotland. Also, visit the Edinburgh Reuse Map developed by Changeworks.

Labs Plastics Recycling Project

Learn how we're leading the charge to reduce the amount of single-use plastics sent to landfill by the innovative work carried out by our lab technicians.

What we're doing to reduce waste

Taking steps to reduce waste is the responsibility of everyone across the University, from our catering outlets and teaching labs to libraries and accommodation. Here are some of the initiatives we've put in place recently to help encourage our University community to reduce, reuse, repair and recycle.

Free reusable period products

Students from the Bleedin Saor free period product teamThanks to Scottish Government funding, we're able to provide free period products to Edinburgh Napier students. We've teamed up with Hey Girls, whose "Buy One Give One" products are aimed at ending period poverty.

We offer students a range of environmentally-friendly and reusable period products for free, including reusable pads, period pants and menstrual cups. The single-use products are plastic free. We also support Hey Girls in their campaigns aimed at highlighting environmental issues, such as "Don't Rush to Flush".

Our own Edinburgh Napier students were involved in the design of the period product dispensers on campus - read about their Bleedin' Saor project.

Find out more about the Edinburgh Napier Free Period scheme.


Abandoned bikes on campus are tagged for a period of time to allow the chance for their owner to collect them. If nobody claims the bike, we donate it to one of our partner organisations such as The Bike Station or Bikes for Refugees.

Bikes for Refugees refurbishes and distributes bikes to help the social inclusion and integration of new Scots into Scottish life. Read here how we donated some of our abandoned bikes to help them.

Student Accommodation

There are bins within the kitchen area of every student accommodation flat to help and encourage residents to recycle. Waste at our student accommodation sites is collected by the City of Edinburgh Council meaning all external bins in our waste stores also promote and highlight good practice.

Visit My Napier for detailed information on what can be recycled and how to recycle your waste.

The student accommodation team actively work with charities such as the British Heart Foundation, Edinburgh Food Bank and Bike for Refugees and encourage students to donate unwanted items, especially at the end of the academic year.  BHF collections from the University typically raise £11,000 and divert roughly 5 tonnes from landfill / refuse derived fuel.

Our annual Don't Dump, Donate initiative encourages students to collect items they no longer want or need and donate them to be reused or recycled instead of going to waste. This includes kitchen items, books, clothes, food and even bikes!

We then donate the collected items to our partner organisations, such as the British Heart Foundation, Edinburgh Food Bank or Bikes for Refugees.

In 2019, we collected:

  • 624 bags of donations for the British Heart Foundation, with a value of £8,736 and diverting 4.9T from landfill.
  • 94.45kg worth of food which was donated to Edinburgh North West Foodbank
  • 2 bikes
Unfortunately our 2020 collection was unable to take place due to Covid-19. The initiative is still ongoing.


Inline with legislation, all single use cutlery has been removed from all catering outlets. Students, staff and campus users are encouraged to use their own reusable cup for all hot drinks with a 20p discount in place. For functions and events, plastic water bottles have been replaced with glass bottles, and for all single use cups and food containers, the University uses compostable items.

Print Hub

Our Print Hub team are leading a project to re-use and re-purpose old furniture around the University, using vinyl wrapping to give the furniture new life and avoid waste. Plastic boxes are no longer used for printed business cards, and the service now instead prints their own re-usable paper boxes. Plastic acetate sheets have now been replaced with ecofriendly covers.