Creating sustainable campuses

Questions about investing in sustainability and how we’re building it into every aspect of our operations and embedding social sustainability across the institution.

Back to: Sustainability

How will the University reach its 2035 Net Zero Carbon target?

The Energy Services team, Sustainability team, the University of Liverpool Energy Company (ULEC) and the Climate Action Group work together to develop a series of initiatives and interventions for improving energy efficiency around the University, in addition to the development of the long-term Net Zero Carbon strategy. There are several components to a long-term decarbonisation plan; some of these are actionable in the short term whereas others will require longer term infrastructural planning and adaptations. All are essential to delivering on the University’s 2035 net zero target. The solution is a blended one, comprising energy reduction, transformative decarbonisation of our heat network, an increase in renewable electricity supply, and mitigating other residual emissions from fossil fuels.

Students Organising for Sustainability's (SOS UK) net zero ranking keeps track of how universities are driving down emissions. We are in the top tier and classed as 'leading the way' on committing to and delivering ambitious carbon reduction targets and The University’s energy and carbon performance is published in the Sustainability Annual Report and HESA Estate Management Return. Visit our Energy and Carbon pages to find out more.

How exactly are the SDGs embedded across the University?

We have embedded the UN SDGs as a unifying framework across the University, by harnessing our strengths in research and education to drive forward the solutions and cultural change needed to move to a sustainable future. Find out more about how we are engaging with each of the 17 UN SDGs and the alignment with the University's mission, for a detailed overview of how our teaching and learning, research and knowledge exchange, leadership, governance and professional services support each goal.

How does the University manage its financial investments?

Our Ethical Investment Policy commits the University to invest its funds on a socially responsible basis with due regard to environmental, social and governance issues. It adopts both the UN Principles for Responsible Investment to better align investors with the broader objectives of society and the UN Global Compact principles focusing on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

What can be recycled on campus?

We are committed to dealing with waste in a responsible manner, please refer to our Recycling Guide for advice on how to recycle at the University. All University buildings and student halls have 3 different bins, which are emptied daily where staff and students can separate waste into the correct recycling bin. Blue bins are for paper, red bins are for plastic products only, grey bins are for metal and green bins are for glass only. Visit the Waste and Recycling pages where you will also find information on battery and crisp packet recycling, as well as our collection service and how to donate unwanted belongings for recycling.

What if I have bulk recycling needs?

The University collects paper, cardboard, fridges, freezers, washing machines and other electrical and electronic components from your buildings free of charge and make them ready to be 100% recycled. Book a collection




What are the University’s sustainable IT standards?

The University provides various services and initiatives which help reduce energy and emissions from IT infrastructure such as power saving technology on laptops and PCs and the collection and recycle service for redundant IT equipment. Where possible, all redundant equipment from the University is repaired with the aim of maximising re-use. The University also makes charitable donations of IT equipment through a contractor to donate unused items. Any items that cannot be refurbished are broken down into their component parts and recycled.

What happens to University food waste?

A proportion of food waste is collected by our waste contractor ReFood and sent for anaerobic digestion. Unavoidable waste and surplus food from our food outlets and catering team are redistributed to local homeless charity, Whitechapel Centre. Both Ness Gardens and the Guild of Students have onsite aerobic composting and recycles all the food waste arising from their catering outlets.


How can I hire a bike?

Students can hire a LivCycle bike from the Guild for a full academic year for just £60. All bikes are serviced regularly by trained mechanics and come with a very sturdy D-lock for extra security. Book here

Staff can benefit from a 20% discount when signing up for an annual citybike membership with your University email address and inputting a discount voucher code. Find out more details and claim your exclusive citybike discount.

How do I join the cycle to work scheme?

You can join the cycle to work scheme here! Simply decide what value you want to spend on your bike and safety equipment (between £100 and £2,500) choose your bike from (Halfords, Cycle Republic, Tredz or selected independent bike shops), complete the online application using our employer code UOLC2W, then once processed and you have received your Letter of Collection simply take it to your chosen store or use the voucher online and exchange it for the bike and safety equipment of your choice.

Cycle storage is currently provided across campus in the form of Sheffield stands, on all major thoroughfares and adjacent to most buildings, and several secure cycle pods spread across campus. See the Cycle Storage Map.

There are several gender-neutral or unisex toilets, showers and changing rooms on campus. See a list of shower and changing facilities on-campus. 

There is the option to register bicycles on the National Cycle Database, Bike Register and bike maintenance is provided at the Bikiosk and is available for all your repair and service needs.

What facilities are available on campus?

There are a number of accessible facilities available to everyone on campus including Libraries, Sport and Fitness Centre, museums and galleries, catering outlets, green spaces and much more. You can view these from the University’s interactive campus map. There is also a wellbeing map, which shows areas on campus to access support, be active, connect, take time out and places to eat well.

Does the University support Fairtrade?

Yes, the University and Liverpool Guild of Students support Fairtrade, through a commitment to providing Fairtrade products at its outlets and events. We will remain committed to supporting Fairtrade and continue to ensure that all our tea, coffee and sugar are ethically traded. Further to this, we pledge to increase our ethically traded offer as more products and product categories become available, adding at least one more ethically traded product per year, where available.

What happens to the University’s waste?

Our waste is processed by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery, who turn waste into new resources and contribute to a circular economy. Find out how our waste is processed here. The University has a number of initiatives and activities to help tackle waste on campus, find out about our good practices that you can help here.

What is the University doing to reduce single use plastics?

We will continue to avoid single-use plastics in our catering outlets by providing plain or filtered tap water in reusable jugs or bottles to minimise transport and packaging waste as part of our ambition to reduce waste by 50% by 2025. The Sustainability team regularly giveaway free reusable water bottles, mugs and tote bags, made from 100% recycled material during engagement activities and events.

Does the University invest in sustainable infrastructure?

All new buildings are developed using Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) to evaluate the sustainable value of a new development. All new builds aim to achieve BREEAM Excellent standards for sustainable construction and are at the cutting edge of sustainable design, harnessing technologies, such as solar thermal heating, rainwater harvesting, and heat recovery systems.

Are there solar panels on UoL buildings?

Yes, there are many buildings across our campuses with Solar Photovoltaic Panels (PV). Click here to see the sustainability features across all the University campuses.

Does the University have a community garden?

Yes! The University has its very own herb garden and meadow vegetation outside the Central Teaching Lab, and on the first floor of the Guild is a beautiful roof garden. Here we grow your own fruit and vegetables allowing us to grow healthy and resource efficient food for the Guild.

The University also works closely with the Liverpool Food Growers Network, a network seeking to connect food growers across the Liverpool City Region to improve our local environment, increase community resilience and encourage collaboration between food growers in and around Liverpool.

But let’s not forget the university’s very own botanical garden, Ness Botanic Gardens!

Does the University have electric vehicle charging points for staff?

The University doesn’t currently have any public electric vehicle charging points on campus however there are active discussions taking place, looking at what changing demand looks like owing to hybrid working to see how to incorporate the right mix of incentives and infrastructure between car use, electric vehicles, and communal travel. 

The University offers a range of alternative initiatives and incentives to support sustainable travel to and from campus, keeping in mind that some colleagues will have to use a car and that we are indeed legally obliged to enable them to do so. Find out more about our sustainable travel initiatives available to staff, including the Season Ticket Loan Scheme and Cycle to Work Scheme.



How does the University monitor its water usage?

We use AquaFund, an ADSM scheme that provides the cash, the resources and the expertise to drive down our water costs. By participating in AquaFund, the University has all sites surveyed and checked for leaks, has made guaranteed savings on water costs through the installation of water-saving technologies, and has improved data collection relating to water usage. As AquaFund donates 1% of its revenue to WaterAid, the University is also helping millions of people in the world’s poorest countries to have access to clean, safe water. We also monitor our water through AMR automatic meter readings and a live portal.

Are there water refill points across the university?

Yes, the University has refill stations across its campuses, in our Libraries and at the Guild. You can download the Refill app to find the nearest water refill station.

Does the University get food from local suppliers?

We strive to ensure that local and smaller suppliers are not discriminated against in the food procurement process and specifications and that they are encouraged to participate in tendering opportunities. Find out more about our policies, suppliers sustainability principles here.

The University has a study abroad programme, is there an offsetting scheme in place or should I offset at an individual level?

The University doesn’t have a carbon offsetting scheme at the moment. Any travel booked through the Global Opportunities programme when emissions are unavoidable, it is important that the University calculates the amount of emissions produced and then takes action to ensure an equivalent or greater amount of carbon emissions are removed from the atmosphere. 

Carbon emissions can be offset at and individual level and we want to encourage students to think critically, examining and accounting for their environmental impact, especially when studying abroad. Click here for some quick tips to make your study abroad experience more ecologically and socially responsible.