Over the past few years, we have made great strides in the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste on campus. NUI Galway's Waste Management Plan gives an overview of these achievements, outlines our current processes in dealing with various waste streams and sets out some ambitious targets for the future: 

We have clear guidelines with regards to the Waste Reduction Reuse Recycling Guidelines on campus. In 2020, a monthly average of 54% of the total waste generated at NUI Galway was recycled across six different waste streams (months ranged from 40-70%). NUI Galway will continue to report and reduce quantities of incoming waste and will maximise re-use and recycling options by working in collaboration with procurement and catering services across the campus. 

The Buildings Office is striving to reduce the quantity of waste produced on campus and promote recycling by a series of initiatives e.g. the Binless Office Scheme. Buildings & Estates provides a waste management service for general waste, recycling, glass, organic (partial), confidential waste (partial) and WEEE waste. They are committed to helping reduce the University's impact on the environment, in line with the NUI Galway Strategic Plan 2020-2025.

bin outside on campus

Group of people holding keep cups in the quadrangle

Zero Waste to Landfill

University of Galway is accredited with a “Zero Waste to Landfill” certificate. Zero Waste to Landfill is the process by which waste generated on the NUI Galway campus is processed to maximise the recovery of the recyclable materials and that any residual waste that cannot be recycled is processed as refuse derived fuel for incineration. The energy generated, is used to generate electricity at waste to energy plants. None of the waste is disposed of to Landfill

Litter Picking

Litter picking is carried out daily across the campus. External litter bins are checked daily and emptied accordingly.

Bin The Bin

Bin The Bin is a binless office scheme, focusing on enhancing recycling in the workplace. It removes the traditional under-desk office bin and replaces this with dedicated recycling stations in key communal locations on every floor of the building.


As outlined in our Waste Reduction Reuse Recycling Guidelines, NUI Galway is committed to waste reduction.

Glass bottle recycling banks and an aluminium recycling facility are located on South Campus opposite the Orbsen Building.

Which plastics are recyclable?

All of the following are segregated and recycled during the routine process undertaken by our waste management contractors after they have collected all University waste. 

  1. PETE or PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
  2. HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
  3. V or PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  4. LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
  5. PP (Polypropylene)

The exceptions are PS (Polystyrene) and Miscellaneous Plastics: SPI code 7

Waste Management at NUI Galway 

Waste Management - An Overview
This document is an overview of the EU Commission's 'Circular Economy' strategy and targets for 2020 and by comparison a brief summary of where NUI Galway is currently positioned. 

Waste Reports and Data for NUI Galway:

GENE (Geo-Environmental Engineering) Research Group

The Geo-Environmental Engineering (GENE) Research group, based at University of Galway, investigates the fate of phosphorus and nitrogen in soil-plant-water systems and the effects of agricultural management on soil and water quality.

One of GENE’s main research topics is resource recovery and resource efficacy:

  • use of materials for wastewater and water treatment
  • waste materials and chemicals as phosphorus and nitrogen adsorbents and soil amendments
  • recovery of precious metals
  • waste as energy sources and slow-release fertilisers

IBAL Survey

University of Galway was awarded Grade A: Clean to European Norms in the most recent survey conducted in the 1st round of surveys in 2019.
Below are the survey comments:

“NUIG: Grade A. The very high standards of previous IBAL litter surveys have been sustained at NUIG – it was a pristine site throughout. Grounds were exceptionally well presented and maintained and all aspects of the area surveyed were in excellent condition e.g. planting, grass, bins, wooden seating, signage, flower boxes etc. It is a tribute to those who are part of the campus and to those responsible for the maintenance.”

Student Project - Organic Waste Circular Economy Process 

Circular Waste Project Infographic

The University of Galway is taking a circular waste management approach to its organic waste, by sending it to Barna Recycling for composting, with part of the resulting compost then returned to campus for use as a fertilizer. 

project undertaken by Aurora Leytom, as part of her MSc in Environmental Leadership aims to evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy and determine if the approach presents the best option for the university. Findings show that the university’s strategy has a lower global warming potential than sending waste to landfill, meaning the process contributes less to climate change. A promotional video has been developed as part of the project to share learnings and highlight the benefits of the circular economy among the wider community.  

This project is a collaboration between Auroa Leyton, MSc student in Environmental Leadership,  Dr Gesche Kindermann, MSc Course Director and key members of the Buildings & Estates team. 

This project showcases University of Galway’s Learn Live Lead approach to sustainability.

Useful Resources