Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Sustainability > Initiatives > Waste Management

What can I do? A recycling guide

College Recycling Facilities (see Recycling Bins page)

Trinity College has established waste management goals, including a goal of reducing the amount of waste generated by 10% by 2020 (from a 2011 baseline), and a goal of diverting 50% or more of our waste* from landfill or incineration to recycling.
*(apart from construction and demolition waste, 100% of which must be recycled, by law).

The avoidance and reduction of waste are the most preferable steps that can be taken to eliminate/manage our waste. Re-sourcing, reuse and recycling are the next preferable options in the waste management hierarchy system, pictured below.

  Hierarchy of resource efficiency, courtesy of SustainSuccess Ltd

For information specific to residents, refer to our Resident Sustainability Guide.

Facilities are provided across Trinity to facilitate the recycling of almost everything. The major categories of recyclables are as follows:

The locations of recycling facilities on campus are provided on the recycling facilities map.
This link gives information and photos of the bins used to provide the service.

How Recycling Happens on Campus and Trinity Sites

Typically, bins located in offices are emptied by Housekeeping staff. This waste goes to the landfill or incinerator. A variety of bins have been placed in indoor public areas for collection of general waste and recyclables.  In public locations, users have the option of disposing their waste into General (i.e. ends up in landfill/ incinerator), Mixed recyclables or Paper bins which are colour coded Black, Green and Blue respectively.

Clear bags are used in recycling bins and black bags in the incinerator waste bins so that housekeeping staff can easily separate bags of recycling waste from incinerator waste. Residents in Trinity residences may also use these bins for their waste disposal. The locations of external large bins can be seen on the Recycling map.

Bin-less Office System

Ecobin containers used for office recycling

Desktop Recycler Ecobins are in use in a number of offices across campus with plans to expand this programme to all buildings. Each office participating in the scheme is supplied with:

  • Black desk trays (pictured above): to be placed on individual desks for storing waste.
  • Landing bins: the desk trays are emptied into the landing bins when full.

The bags in the landing bins are then gathered for recycling by Housekeeping Staff.

The system offers the following efficiencies:

It introduces the concept of each individual taking responsibility for his/her own waste. This in turn creates an awareness of the different recycling streams and leads to a higher percentage of waste being recycled and a consequential reduction in general waste. These are specific targets which Trinity has committed to for the College’s Green-Campus Programme.

How does the ‘binless office’ system work?   

  • Each work desk will be supplied with a ‘desk-top recycler’. These are used by staff members to hold their own waste.
  • Blue bins for waste paper will be placed on each floor of the building.
  • Each participating kitchen (or corridor where there is no kitchen) has a green and black bin - green for mixed dry recyclables and black for landfill/ incinerator waste. Individual staff members take responsibility for emptying the contents of their ‘desk- top recycler’ into the green, blue and black bins. The bins have labels highlighting the correct receptacles for the different items of waste.  
  • Cleaning staff empty the bins and transfer the waste to external collection points.

Contact Estates and Facilities to obtain a desktop recycling bin.

Paper, Newsprint, Brochures and Magazines, Other Types of Paper

White paper can be recycled in the BLUE bins in most offices throughout College. All types of paper are suitable for recycling, including all office paper (photocopy paper, letter head stationery, plain envelopes, coloured paper, notepads, fax paper, Post-it notes and shredded paper). Other paper waste, such as  newspapers, magazines, phone books, brochures and catalogues can be placed in the GREEN bins. If recycling bins are not of sufficient capacity, users can bring their waste materials to an external recycling bin nearby. See the Recycling map for locations of outdoor recycling bays.

There are approved suppliers for secure shredding. Contact procurement for listed suppliers, at

Did you know?

  • Recycled paper produces 73% less air pollution than paper made from trees.
  • It takes 24 trees to make 1 tonne of newspaper.
  • 70% less energy is required to make recycle paper compared with making virgin paper from trees.

Dry Recyclables

What Can I put in the Green Recycling Bin?

The full list of what you can put in the recycling bin in Ireland can be found here.  These items can be recycled:

Rigid Plastics

Tins and Cans

Paper and Cardboard

Images courtesy of

Dry recyclables can be disposed of in the internal green recycling bins and in the green wheelie bins and green-labelled solar Belly bins around Trinity sites. Aluminium trays (clean and dry), washed food cans, drinks cans, plastics (bottles, cartons, wrapping), light cardboard (e.g. cereal packs), CDs & DVDs are all acceptable for recycling in these bins. Please empty and rinse all food/drink cans and containers before disposal. Make sure that all are drained dry before discarding.

Did you know?

  • An average family throws away about 40kg of plastic per year, which could otherwise be recycled.
  • 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.
  • Plastics can take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • Plastic items which end up in our oceans kill or harm as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year.

Did you know!

  • €1,000,000 worth of aluminium is thrown away each year in Ireland.
  • Recycling aluminium cans employs only 5% of the energy needed to produce new aluminium from mined bauxite.
  • In the USA, enough aluminium is thrown out annually to rebuild their entire commercial airline fleet four times!


Cardboard should be folded, flattened, and placed in the wheelie bin marked "cardboard" or left beside any wheelie bin in College for collection before 12.00pm Monday-Friday. If you don’t flatten boxes, the bin will turn into a ‘Prairie bin’ i.e. it will fill up with lots of wide open space, and that is of no use to anyone! All non-recyclable packaging that is not collected by the original suppliers should be placed in the bins for general waste.


Green, white and brown glass can be recycled in red glass recycling bins across Trinity sites. Lab glass containers can also be recycled, as well as clean, dry, uncontaminated lab glassware such as flasks, pipettes, burettes, etc. You must triple rinse glass containers before recycling them, to minimise contamination and problems with vermin. Scrape off chemical labels where possible.

Locations of facilities for recycling glass bottles & jars can be viewed on the Recycling map.

Did you know!

  • 1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
  • Each Irish family uses an average of 500 glass bottles and jars annually.
  • Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again.

Equipment Packaging

Many suppliers are now obliged to take away their own packaging (e.g. Styrofoam, wood pallets, cardboard, etc.) for recycling after delivery of products, and this should, where possible, be a condition of the purchase. Check with the supplier at the time of ordering, and consider the cost of packaging disposal when purchasing your item. This is generally part of the procurement system.

Did you know!

  • On average, 16% of the money you spend on a product pays for the packaging, which ultimately ends up as waste.
  • About one-third of an average landfill is made up of packaging material.

Computer packaging

All of the designated College computer suppliers are contractually obliged to take away their packaging! So make sure that you arrange this in advance, when you book the delivery of the item.

Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Under the EU ‘WEEE’ (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) legislation, the suppliers of new electrical and electronic items are obliged to accept old items for recycling on a like-for-like basis. The cost of this service is included in the purchase price as the PRF levy. Thus, when an item such as a fridge is delivered, by law the supplier must accept the old item for recycling.

When disposing of computers and disk drives, disks or phones that have been used to collect and store sensitive data, data owners should be aware of their obligations under data protection regulations, regarding the proper removal of any College data stored on any equipment prior to being sent for recycling. Please see secure data disposal guidelines on IT Services webpage.

Electrical and electronic equipment not collected under the terms of the WEEE legislation can be sent for recycling by contacting David Hackett. Equipment that is still operational should be clearly marked as such as this equipment will be reused where possible and recycled otherwise.

The following forms must be filled out with asset details and the departmental Asset Register updated to reflect all disposal of equipment through this facility.
Click below for forms to be filled out for disposal of electronic equipment:

 WEEE Recycling cage

Unwanted computer equipment may be routed to a Dublin charity called Camara.

Toners and ink cartridges

There are bins for disposal of toners and ink cartridges at various locations throughout College including the Students’ Union (SU) shop in House 6, Arts Building, Civil Engineering Building, Chapel House, SNIAMS, East End 4, Áras An Phiarsaigh, Hamilton Building and the O'Reilly Institute. These can normally be found at the attendant's desk (usually in the lobby) of most buildings.

Contact David Hackett at to have your bin picked up and replaced.

Trinity Hall also has a collection point for cartridges – enquire with Front Desk. The proceeds raised through the recycling of toner and ink cartridges throughout the year are donated - during Green Week - to Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

Light bulbs

All types must be collected separately as some are classified as a hazardous material. They are stored for collection centrally by the Estates and Facilities department in sealed containers. These containers are located at Estates and Facilities AEC’s offices, Pearse Street, at the back of the Arts Block and Goldsmith Hall.

 Collection containers for 4’ and 8’ fluorescent light bulbs


Battery recycling boxes are available for all offices and buildings - please contact David Hackett at extension 1630 or for collections. There are external bins for disposal of batteries also at various locations throughout College including House 6, Arts Building, AAP, Buildings Office depot, SNIAMS , East End 4 and the Civil Engineering Building. These can normally be found at the building attendant's desk. These locations can be viewed on the Recycling map.

Mobile phones

There is a bin available for the disposal of mobile phones for recycling in association with Oxfam in the Student's Union shop in House 6, Front Square. Mobiles can also be sent to an Irish charity called Jack and Jill.


There are two containers available for the disposal of waste timber for recycling, one at the Nassau Street side of the cricket pitch near the Moyne building and a second at Trinity Technical and Environmental Centre (TTEC), please contact the Estates & Facilities office at or at extension x 4000 for more information on this service.


There is a metal recycling skip at the rear of the Arts building for disposal of separated metal items, please contact the Estates & Facilities office at or at extension x 4000 for more information on this service.

Organic waste / Compost

A skip container for recycling organic waste is located at the side of the Moyne Institute, for use by the Grounds Staff for recycling grass cuttings, hedge clippings and broken branches and other garden type organic material.

As is required by EU regulations facilities for the collection of organic materials are also in place at the catering building and other catering outlets on campus. These brown bins are used for gathering food waste for composting. Currently there are brown bins for the collection of food waste and other organics located at these external locations: Catech, Arts, Moyne/cricket pitch, Pavilion Bar, LPG, Rugby pitch scoreboard, Science Gallery, Enterprise Centre, BioScience basement.


Current legislation requires that waste oils and fats from commercial catering facilities must be collected separately from regular waste and compost waste. A few tonnes are collected from Trinity annually which are recycled to produce biofuels.

Construction Waste (CD GEN)

National legislation requires that all construction waste is recycled. Building contractors on site manage their own skips and the Estates and Facilities office use various skips to collect metal, timber, organic and other materials at LPG which are weighed by the Trinity waste contractor.


From September 2013, it is college policy to only use water based paints. Please bring paint wastes to Estates and Facilities or request a collection through Paint containers and equipment are disposed of lawfully by Estates and Facilities.

Bulky wastes

Items such as office and residence furniture including broken chairs, desks, partitions, cabinets and mattresses can be collected for reuse by a variety of charities across Dublin. Mattresses can be recycled by EcoMattress Recycling.

Please enquire via your building facilities officer if your unwanted furniture could be used elsewhere in Trinity, before you call a charity to collect it for sale as reused furniture. Sunflower Recycling will collect furniture for free.

Use freetradeireland, Donedeal, WeShare or Freecycle to sell or dispose of reusable furniture and other large items without incurring disposal costs.

Chemical Management

Trinity uses an online database for managing chemicals, LABCUP offers many environmental benefits. It is primarily an inventory management system but also has features which help reduce the impacts associated with the purchase, use and disposal of hazardous chemicals.

Firstly, it reduces the impact of purchasing in excess of needs, as all items in stock are clearly identifiable and easily located. This prevents duplicate items being ordered. Therefore, stocks are not needlessly being manufactured which are later disposed without being used. 

The waste disposal functionality of LABCUP encourages the timely and safe disposal of hazardous waste. Chemicals which become more hazardous over time can be assigned expiry dates in the database. Users can easily notify the Hazardous Materials Facility when these chemicals must be disposed from within the system itself. The efficient disposal of hazardous waste mitigates the risk of stockpiling.

Legacy wastes may become considerably hazardous due to:

  • the effects of long term storage on the stability of some chemicals
  • problems with accurate identification of chemicals due to the disintegration of old labels

Another valuable function of LABCUP is the live ‘Emergency and Fire’ information feature. This allows emergency services to act accordingly based on the nature of what is stored in an area, should a potential incident arise. The actions taken by emergency services can be proportionate to the actual hazards posed by the chemicals present, thereby accurately judging the necessary response.

Contact Marcus Phelan in Hazardous Materials at extension 3565 or by email at to arrange pickup of any chemicals you wish to donate to the general stock, or to provide any advice or assistance that may be needed.

Waste Exchange

Internal to Trinity:
Trinity has a ‘Yammer’ group for exchange of furniture/ equipment/ office items. Any staff member has access to the Yammer group here. Staff can post requests for items needed or offer items for donation within Trinity. Equipment, furniture, office supplies, lab items are all welcome to be exchanged.

Further information

For further details on any waste management or recycling issues contact David Hackett.