Waste Management, Recycling and Litter Reduction

Every day, each one of the 7.7 billion people living on our planet consumes items made of natural resources. The disposal of these items produces about 20 million blue whales’ worth of household waste (2.12 billion metric tons) worldwide every year, most of which ends up in landfill or incineration.

Grey recycling iconOur irresponsible 'take, make, waste' consumer patterns are driving climate change, damaging land and marine ecosystems, and polluting our air and freshwater sources.

The 2030 UN Agenda for Sustainable Development commits countries to moving towards a circular economy based on sustainable consumption and production patterns - this is essential for the provision of clean water, the conservation of our oceans and seas, and climate change mitigation.

Our Objectives

Trinity has adopted five waste management objectives:

1) Reduce waste generation by 10%
2) Increase recycling and reuse to 50%
3) Zero waste to landfill
4) Zero litter on grounds
5) Reduce hazardous waste by 10%

Our Sustainability Report details the progress that has been made in their implementation.

Recycling Guide Data & Results Green Map


Green Tips

Humans are the only species on the planet to create waste. So every form of pollution is our responsibility. The best way to reduce waste and pollution is to choose what you buy carefully. ‘Rethink’ is the first part of the ‘Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle’ Waste Hierarchy. If you can refuse to purchase something in the first place, this means you are eliminating the waste outright!

By refusing to buy unessential items; reducing the volume of what you buy/ consume; re-purposing/ repairing/ reusing items to prolong their lifespan, and donating/ disposing of items you no longer need at appropriate recycling centres, you can reduce your environmental footprint and contribute to a healthier planet.

One of the first steps you can take to reduce waste is to learn what can be recycled. Watch this video with Michele Hallahan, outlining what household items can and can’t be recycled:

The locations of recycling facilities on Trinity sites can be found on our Green Map and our Sustainability Guides include some handy tips for reducing waste.

Waste icons

UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 is to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 is to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Did You Know?
Up to 60% of the items that end up in the rubbish bin could be recycled.

In 2019, Trinity launched the Co-Cup Deposit and Return Scheme which aims to reduce the 200 million single use coffee cups sent to landfill in Ireland every year.

Student Recycling Champions trained over 300 other students at Trinity Hall on proper recycling practices in 2018!

Plastic items which end up in our oceans kill or harm as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.

You can make a bicycle out of 650 recycled aluminium cans.

Making new plastic products from recycled plastics reduces the energy requirements of manufacturing by 66%.

One million tonnes of food waste is produced in Ireland annually. That’s enough food waste to fill Croke Park two and a half times!

When you recycle one single glass bottle, enough energy is saved to illuminate a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or to power a computer or television for nearly half an hour.

Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than if it was made from raw materials.

Rich countries (such as the United States, Canada and members of the European Union) represent just 16% of global population, but produce 34% of the world’s waste.