Leeds: A place to look after

University of Leeds
4 min readNov 4, 2022

A word on sustainable adulting from Sustainability Service.

Moving out crosses multiple milestones; your first takeaway, your first lazy Sunday, your first time sorting your bins… Only when you notice the recycling taking half the kitchen floor space do you think, ‘Hmmm, this is something I’m meant to sort’.

Adulting is hard! But fear not, don’t call home — this guide will help you with all the information you need.

The key to sorting your waste is the 4 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Remove!

Here’s some tips:

REFUSE

Less waste = Less effort

As Marie Kondo would say, you don’t need it if it doesn’t bring you joy! Having less stuff in the first place means you have less to eventually throw out.

Remember your reusable coffee cup.
  • Be stylish and sustainable by using a reusable tote bag for your shopping.
  • Save money and the planet — remember your reusable coffee cup and get discount on your coffee from our campus cafes.
  • Stay hydrated sustainably — use our water refill point map to find out all the different spots to use your reusable water bottle on campus!
  • Only accept freebies if you know you’ll use them, no matter how tempting.
  • Choose electronic billing rather than paper copies.

REDUCE

Save your student loan and buy less

You can’t refuse everything, but you can definitely make reductions. Taking a second to carefully consider whether you really need something or whether you could buy less of something can really make a difference.

Shopping is fun but think before you buy.

Think before you buy:

  • Is this something you are purchasing for an occasion? If so, will you use it again?
  • How long have you wanted this item? Is it something you desire to fit a fast trend that will soon pass?
  • What is the quality of this item? Is the quality good enough to have it.

Or do good by buying good:

You can rescue food from University cafes via Too Good To Go app.
  • Rescue food that would otherwise be destined for the bin using the Too Good To Go app.
  • If you do need to get something, think about whether you can get it second hand or borrow it — the Buy Nowt LS6 Library of Things lets you rent items that you will only use once, including camping equipment, garden tools and even fancy dress costumes.

REUSE

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

Before you throw something out, consider whether it might be useful to someone else. Give your items a second chance!

  • Donate your unwanted items to charity shops and shop there too. You could use Revive at Kirkstall Recycling Centre to buy bigger items such as furniture.
  • Buy products that are reusable e.g. reusable make-up pads rather than cotton wool, bees wax wraps rather than cling film — you’ll save money over time too.
  • Use Hazaar — a zero waste marketplace, just for students.
  • If an item is broken, take it to a repair café rather than throwing it away. Or, look out for our next repair café and learn to mend it yourself!

REMOVE

Tried it all? Time for the bin

There are occasions when some things just have to be binned.

  • Green and black bin collections happen regularly in your area. You are responsible for making sure that your bins are out, on the pavement, in time for collection. They must not be left in the street in between collections. It looks unpleasant, can cause obstruction and can lead to fines. Check your ben day here.
  • Download the Leeds Bins App to make sure that you don’t miss a collection. Find it on Google Play and the App store.
  • Don’t let your bin be the one that spoils everyone else’s recycling collection — check what can be collected in your green bin here.
  • Ensure that all of your waste is contained in your bin to avoid fines.
  • Recycle glass in your local bottle bank-download the Leeds Bins App to find your nearest or see this map.
  • If your wheelie bin is damaged or has gone missing you will need to order a replacement. Speak with your landlord as there is a small fee for replacing back bins.
  • If you are a student in halls, then the removal of your waste differs slightly! But fear not, you can find out all you need here.

And there it is, a simple guide to help get your life together in the adulting aspect you didn’t know you needed. So don’t forget the 4 R’s and you have got this!

For more information on Sustainability at the University, see our other blogs or follow our instagram @uol_sus.

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