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Reduce, reuse and then recycle

The University of Otago has set the ambitious goal of reducing waste to landfill by 50% by 2021.

Sustainable Development Goals

Waste is best tackled from the beginning (before anything becomes waste), so we recommend approaching it in this order:

  1. Preventing waste
  2. Preparing for reuse
  3. Recycling
  4. Recovering

We are helping to support these goals and here's how you can get involved:

Know your bins

Ensuring your bins are sorted correctly helps significantly reduce waste to landfill.

A major issue with recycling is contamination, so look for Green Your Scene's bin labels, to be sure which waste goes in which bin.

Bin labels (English) (PDF)

Bin labels (Te Reo Māori) (PDF)

Use reusable items

Reusable items cut down on throw-away packaging and single-use items

Reusable coffee cups

Our campus is becoming disposable cup free so you will need a reusable cup for all hot drinks in University cafés – and you will get 50 cents off your hot drink.

Your first hot drink will be free if you buy an Otago University branded reusable cup.

Our cafés also have lend cups for anyone who has forgotten theirs.

Reusable water bottles

All University cafés will provide free ways to refill water bottles, and campuses have many other places to refill your bottle as well.

Reusable containers

You can bring your own container to all University cafés for any takeaway food that isn't already pre-packaged.

Use less paper

Simple ways to avoid wasting paper in your working day.


Setting your computer to print double sided only takes a couple of minutes, and it's the default for most University printers.

Black and white

Printing in black and white is about ten times cheaper than printing in colour and has less environmental impact.

Less paper

Scan documents instead of sending photocopies, and put PDF documents on the web then send meeting notes and the agenda electronically.

Recycle and reuse

Our systems to help you recycle and reuse. Why use them?

Carbon emissions

Creating new items usually involves creating greenhouse gases and contributing to global warming – from the start of the supply chain when raw materials are extracted through to manufacturing, assembling, transporting, and disposing of the item.

The environmental savings generated by reusing something already on our campuses cannot be underestimated. It also helps prevent damaging our environment in ways unique to each product, by reducing demand.


Sourcing items second-hand for free on our campuses saves the cost of buying and delivering a new item.


Buying new usually means having to dispose of the packaging, sending more waste to landfill.

Disposing of bulky or potentially hazardous items instead of reusing those costs our University money that could be spent on priorities for staff and students. Disposing of waste also often has negative effects on the environment, and is inconvenient.

Staff time

Buying new can involve a lot of time – budget planning spreadsheets, identifying suppliers, requesting quotes and processing payments/invoices.

Your options

Recycling Centre

Houses pre-loved furniture you can select to meet your needs.

Organise a suitable time to visit (96 Anzac Ave, with entrance off Parry St West, 8am to 12pm, Monday to Friday).

Contact: Trina Brown
Tel +64 21 279 2263


As much e-waste as possible – mobile phones, computers, televisions etc – is recycled and broken down into parts that can be reused.

Any small loads of e-waste (that can be carried by an individual person) can be logged via AskOtago as a disposal request. The E-waste and E-cycle Centre staff will arrange a time for the E-waste to be dropped off, or to be collected.

However, for larger or multiple items please complete the Property Services online request. Once your items are ready for disposal please complete a Property Services online request for collection of your e-waste. Please ensure you give a brief description of the items to be collected, quantities, and pickup location.

Lodge a recycle and waste request

Finding second-hand office items

Corporate Records has reusable office items on offer – including lever arch files and file boxes.


Waste collection

The smartphone app 'DCC Kerbside Collections” will update you about what is due for collection by the Dunedin City Council and includes a handy guide on what can/cannot be recycled.

Or you can check online:

Recycling days and the app

Recycling and other information


Composting doesn't have to be hard work. Try the Bokashi composting system, as recommended by the Dunedin City Council.

A guide to home composting (PDF)

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