Waste on Campus

by Aoife Robertson

Disposing of our waste correctly can often feel confusing, especially if we don’t know what can be recycled or where to put it. Trinity generated nearly 60 tons of waste during the month of September 2021 and this number is expected to rise to over 130 tons per month as we make a full return to pre-Covid teaching and activities. However, up to 40% of domestic waste in Trinity is contaminated by incorrectly disposed items, meaning that this waste cannot be recycled and instead is treated as general, black bin waste. With this in mind and with many students on campus for the first time, we are here to give you the breakdown of waste on Trinity campus!

It is important to note that Trinity consists of many campuses, not just the city centre location that we all know and love. With the exception of Tallaght Hospital, all Trinity campuses follow the same waste management system so whether you are in Halls, Front Square or the TBSI, this article can act as a one-stop-shop for all your waste disposal needs!

Mixed, dry recyclables

Trinity has an incredible waste management system and facilitates the recycling of many different types of waste. The simplest of recyclables are mixed, dry recyclables including paper, plastic and aluminium. To dispose of mixed dry recyclables, you can use the numerous green bins that are found in nearly every building on campus. There are also four “Solar Belly” bins placed in Fellow’s Square and beside the Cricket Pitch. These bins are easily identified by their green lids and shouldn’t be confused with their black lidded, general waste counterparts. When disposing of mixed, dry recyclables don’t forget the golden rule; They must be clean and dry, otherwise, they will contaminate the rest of the bin! 

Large blue bins can be found in locations such as Botany Bay, the Science Gallery and the Museum Building. These bins are specifically for white office paper, no coloured paper or cardboard is allowed! You can put all other paper in the green bins while cardboard can be flattened and placed beside these large blue bins for later collection.  


Having a great night out and wondering what to do with your empties? Currently, the biggest problem for Trinity Waste Management is that glass is being put in the general waste bin, not only preventing its proper disposal but also proving a health risk for anyone handling the waste. Glass bins can be found outside the Pav, in Botany Bay or behind the Arts Block and all glass items can be disposed of here if they are clean and empty. Plastic and aluminium lids can be disposed of in the green bins while mixed material lids can be put in the general waste bins. 

Organic waste

Organic waste such as food can be put into brown, compost bins. A good rule of thumb if you’re confused about whether a non-food item can go in the brown bin, is that if it once grew it can be composted. Paper and corks were once trees so they can go in the brown bin! You can find organic waste bins in Botany Bay, behind the dining hall, behind the Pav or in Goldsmith Hall. Compost bins may be a little rarer on campus, but they are still there so make sure to avail of them! 


General electrical items can be disposed of in the WEEE cages in the Hamilton, Botany Bay or on the second floor of the TBSI. If you’re a resident of Halls you can also bring your electricals to Front Desk for recycling. When disposing of electricals make sure to remove batteries where possible. Trinity also offers facilities for battery recycling in House 6, the Arts Block and the Civic Engineering Building. House 6 also has facilities for toner and mobile phone disposal.

Other waste

There is a whole range of other waste disposal points for the above-mentioned items, with dozens of disposal points around campus. There are also many more items that can be recycled on campus such as construction and demolition waste, hazardous materials, light bulbs, metals, oils and timber all easily disposed of using on-campus facilities. If you are unsure of whether an item can be recycled or how to recycle off-campus you can use the mywaste.ie website which sorts objects into categories for recycling and even gives you your nearest recycling point!
For the full list of recyclable items at Trinity and to access a map of disposal points please consult the webpage tcd.ie/provost/sustainability.

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