Waste and Resources

Waste & Recycling


Our aim is to reduce the total tonnage of waste and increase recycling rates despite the growth in campus size and student/staff population. We work together to employ the ‘waste hierarchy’ – Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Recover. The School has a ‘Zero Waste to Landfill’ policy.


waste hierachy 17.04.24

Head to our Waste and Recycling page for tips on reducing, reusing and recycling at LSE, as well as more information on the different types of waste.


Reduce Initiatives

  • LSE catering outlets apply charges on water bottles (25p) and single-use paper cups (25p) to drive behaviour change.

  • In 2018/19 reuse of cups reached 40% of all drinks sales, preventing the disposal of 108,589 disposable cups during that period.

  • In 2018/19 LSE cafes offered KeepCups at a 50% discount from their retail price for the whole year (previously only at the start of term).

  • LSE Director, Minouche Shafik launched the Plastic Free LSE campaign in 2018. The campaign aimed to minimise single-use plastics across the School and raise awareness about plastic pollution and the role plastics can play in society, providing the theme for engagement initiatives.  Our Plastic Impact Report is available online, showcasing the related projects.

Reuse Initiatives

  • Staff and students are encouraged to use sites like Freecycle and Gumtree for the exchange of unwanted items.

  • In 2018/19 9.6 tonnes of unwanted items, the equivalent of 97 tonnes of CO2e, were donated to the British Heart Foundation by LSE students moving out of halls in LSE’s annual ‘ReLove’ re-use programme, raising £16,845.   

  • Books are donated to charities Better World Books and Book Rescuers, who redistribute them internationally to underprivileged communities.

  • The Furniture ReUse stock is the first point of reference for new furniture requests and is compiled by using good quality furniture resulting from internal office moves and the return of redundant items by staff.

Recycle & Recover Initiatives

  • In early 2020 Waste contractor Bywaters deployed a coffee cup recycling scheme through The Cup Fund provided by Hubbub. Coffee cup bins are available in all cafes on campus. 

  • 49% of our waste was recycled or composted in 2018/19, a total of 789 tonnes. This increase in overall volume from 2017/18 is due to the number of office moves related to the opening of the new Centre Building. 

  • LSE sends zero waste to landfill. 


FAQs and factsheets

What is LSE doing to reduce single-use plastics?

What is LSE doing to reduce food waste?


Coffee Cups Factsheet (2020) – facts about disposable coffee cups, how we are tackling the problem and what you can do 

Electrical Waste Factsheet – our guidelines for the purchasing, use and disposal of electrical goods at LSE

Food Waste Factsheet – gives you some context about the food waste problem, what LSE already does and what you can do to contribute to its solution 

Your PPE - considering sustainability – reduce health risks whilst limiting negative environmental impacts

Useful links

For campus

For halls