Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Circular economy

A row of recycling bins inside one of ARU's buildings

Our sustainability policy commits us to 'support a "circular economy" by adopting purchasing policies and practices which prioritise local communities and whole-life value for money, designing out waste and keeping products and materials in use through reuse and recycling'.

Sustainable purchasing

We spend millions of pounds every year at ARU on goods and services to deliver teaching and research and to provide accommodation, catering and campuses for our staff and students.

In order to deliver our sustainable purchasing commitments we have developed an overarching Responsible Purchasing Policy. This forms part of our Financial Regulations and must be applied in all procurement exercises.

ARU staff can access responsible procurement guidance on the Heron for further information and resources.

Sustainable Food

Our Sustainable Food Policy (PDF) details how we embed our environmental, social and ethical commitments within our campus catering services.

Waste and recycling

We do not send any waste materials to landfill sites – all our waste is either reused, recycled or used to create ‘refuse derived fuel’. Our aim is to increase our recycling rate to 60% by 2026.

See how we've reduced waste, increased recycling, and how we're performing compared to our targets (PDF).

Big Green Move Out

We work with the British Heart Foundation to collect unwanted items from students leaving our accommodation for reuse and recycling. This prevents items from being landfilled and raises money for good causes.

The Big Green Move Out Guide (PDF) explains how to donate your items, and you can check the campus maps on the ARU app to see where the donation banks are on our campuses.

Recycle right

Recycling materials is better for the climate, reduces habitat destruction, species extinction and resource depletion, and can also cost 3-4 times less money than disposing of general waste.

ARU staff and students can check the campus maps on the ARU app for the location of different recycling points on our campuses, following the A-Z guide below.



Orange mixed recycling bins.

Aluminium cans

Orange mixed recycling bins.


Batteries can contain hazardous materials and it is important these are disposed of appropriately.

Portable consumer batteries (rechargeable and non-rechargeable) such as AA, AAA - students can take these batteries to the SU offices where they are collected for recycling and staff can send these in the internal post to the post room for recycling.

Lithium (Li) or Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries - empty, undamaged Li or Li-ion batteries can be collected in small numbers only. You can dispose of these as above but first need to cover all contacts with electrical tape and ensure that they do not come into contact with liquid.

For all other types of batteries the Facilities helpdesk should be contacted to arrange for a collection. These should be securely stored until collected to avoid theft, damage and environmental impacts, as well as to avoid health & safety risks.


Depending on their condition, bikes that are no longer needed can be exchanged for cash at second hand dealers or donated to local charity shops.

In Chelmsford, there is Two Wheelers bike stall at Chelmsford Market (83-90 Chelmsford Retail Market, 07933 219376).

In Cambridge, there is The Bike Man stall on Cambridge Market Square.


There are British Heart Foundation donation banks located around campus - check the campus maps on the ARU app for exact locations.


Orange mixed recycling bins.

If you have a large number of brochures to dispose of, please log a job with the Facilities helpdesk for these to be collected.

Read more about a-b.



Cardboard should be flat packed and can be recycled by using the orange mixed recycling bins.

For large quantities of cardboard, please contact the Facilities helpdesk for collection.

Carrier bags

Reuse, or recycle in the orange mixed recycling bins.


There are British Heart Foundation donation banks located around campus - check the campus maps on the ARU app for exact locations.


Hazardous chemicals can be solid, liquid or gaseous and include computer, IT and electrical equipment, batteries, oils, asbestos and clinical waste.

Faculties and departments using such materials should be fully trained on their storage and disposal. The Senior Technician in each area should be the first point of contact. If you are without a technician or unsure about anything, please contact the Facilities helpdesk.

Christmas cards

Orange mixed recycling bins, or your local supermarket may collect them to raise money for charity.


General waste.


There are British Heart Foundation donation banks located around campus - check the campus maps on the ARU app for exact locations.


Contact the Facilities Helpdesk to request collection.

Confidential waste

If your office has a shredder, please place bags of shredded waste in clear sacks next to your orange mixed recycling bin.

If you do not have access to a shredder, or have large volumes to dispose of, please contact the Facilities helpdesk who can send a sack for the paper to be collected in and then taken for shredding. Please remove all ring binders, plastic sleeves and folders first.

Crisp packets

Crisp packet recycling points in Helmore restaurant, Cambridge, or Rivermead restaurant, Chelmsford.

Read more about c.


Drink bottles (glass)

Glass recycling bins at Helmore and Ruskin in Cambridge, and Tindal and Student Village in Chelmsford.

Drink bottles (plastic)

Orange mixed recycling bins.

Electrical equipment

Contact the Facilities Helpdesk to request collection.

All IT and electrical equipment such as monitors, hard drives and printers are classed as hazardous waste. We have a legal responsibility to dispose of this equipment correctly and its disposal must meet the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations, hazardous waste regulations and duty of care as we could face prosecution.

Once a collection is made by our authorised waste disposal company, any data is wiped and the equipment and materials that are of no further use are recycled and/or disposed of correctly.

Electrical equipment should not be left lying around, especially outside, and should always be collected by our facilities operatives for safe storage.

Departments should not choose their own charities or organisations to donate equipment to, as we may be in breach of our duty of care, data protection regulations and the electrical equipment safety regulations. Please always check with the Facilities Helpdesk.


Orange mixed recycling bins.

Food waste

We have food waste bins in all our catering outlets. At our Chelmsford campus, food waste from the restaurant goes into our wormery!

In the absence of a food bin, please use a general waste bin.

If you compost at home, please consider taking your food waste home with you in your lunch box.


All redundant furniture should be logged with the Facilities helpdesk for collection and disposal.

If it is practical to do so, we may be able to reuse this in other areas, or donate it to local charities or schools.

Read more about d-f.



Glass recycling bins at Helmore and Ruskin in Cambridge, and Tindal and Student Village in Chelmsford.

Kitchen equipment

There are British Heart Foundation donation banks located around campus - check the campus maps on the ARU app for exact locations.

Light bulbs

Light bulbs are classed as hazardous waste and need to be disposed of via a licensed company.

Redundant light bulbs will normally be taken away when they are replaced by the maintenance team, but if you have any to be disposed of, contact the Facilities helpdesk.


Orange mixed recycling bins. If you have large numbers of magazines to dispose of, please contact the Facilities helpdesk for collection.

Metal cans

Orange mixed recycling bins.

Mobile phones

If mobile phones on university contracts are no longer needed, they should be returned to IT Services.

Read more about g-m.



Orange mixed recycling bins.


Some paints are hazardous, and if your faculty or department has some to dispose of, contact the Facilities helpdesk, who will take it to our hazardous waste store to await collection by our licensed waste disposal contractor.


Orange mixed recycling bins.

Paper cups

General waste bins.

Paper towels and serviettes

General waste bins. Putting wet items into the mixed recycling will contaminate the recycling.


Mixed plastic bottles and packaging (including pots, tubs and trays) can all be recycled by using the orange mixed recycling bins.

If you are unsure if an item of plastic is recyclable, please contact the Environment Team.


General waste bins.

Tetrapak cartons

General waste bins.

Textiles and clothing

There are British Heart Foundation donation banks located around campus - check the campus maps on the ARU app for exact locations.

Tin foil

Orange mixed recycling bins - please ensure it's clean.

Toner/ink cartridges

Toner cartridges from staff printers can be sent in the internal mail to the post room on either campus for recycling. Please post them in the box of your new toner cartridge, and label it ‘For toner cartridge recycling‘.


General waste bins.

Read more about n-z.

Take action

  1. Avoid unnecessary purchases – can you share items, or reuse items others don’t need?
  2. Advertise items you no longer need on the Community section of ARUgreen.
  3. Adopt the sustainable purchasing behaviours included in ARUgreen.
  4. If you're a member of staff, sign up for the sustainable procurement training delivered by the Procurement Team.
  5. Use the Social Responsibility Impact Tools prepared by our Procurement Team when purchasing goods and services for ARU.
  6. Dispose of materials in the right bins – follow our A-Z recycling guide above, or visit the Recycle Now website to check your local recycling facilities.
  7. Don’t waste food – if global food waste were a country, it would be third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US. See the Love Food Hate Waste website for advice on how to reduce food waste and save money.
  8. Sign up to ARUgreen to learn more about the circular economy through regular webinars, monthly challenges and earn rewards for adopting simple behaviour changes.