News and events

Plastic Free July

Plastic Free July is a global movement to help tackle the world's plastic problem. If you've been thinking of trying to reduce your plastic consumption, now is a good time to take action! See the Plastic Free July website for tips on reducing your plastic usage and information on how to get involved.

Please note that this page is currently under construction and we'll add much more useful content in the coming days; watch this space!

Environment and energy

Biology is committed to reducing its environmental impact, and we have an Environmental Performance Group (EPG: see our Committees page). You can help too by making small changes! See our Sustainability Statement.

  • Waste Recycling: Biology has a mixed waste recycling system in place. More information can be found here.
  • Paper Recycling Bins: are place in offices, labs and along Biology corridors. Good practice suggests that you should have 1 paper recycling bin per 10 desk-based staff. If you don’t have a paper recycling bin near you please email the Infrastructure team to order one.
  • Stamp Recycling: please bring used and unused stamps to the post room. Stamps are sent away to Cancer Research UK for sorting by their volunteers.
  • Printer / Toner Ink Recycling: Biology sends away all of its used printer and/or toner cartridges. Please leave used cartridges in the boxes at Stores.
  • Battery Recycling: please bring down to Biology Stores and place in the battery bin for recycling.
  • Glass: Take to F0 or the Atrium kitchen.
  • Water: Drinking water is available from J1, B004a, M1 & M2 landing, K1 & K2 landing, L1 & L2 landing and K0.
  • Food waste: There are food waste caddies located in the following areas in the Department: Atrium kitchen, F0 kitchen, H1 kitchen, J1 teapoint, K1 admin kitchen, M1/L1 link teapoint, M2 (X2), Q1 kitchen, Staff Common Room (next to Cookies).
  • Lab Plastics: Refer the to the Procedure for uncontaminated laboratory plastics for recycling_Jul20.pdf
  • Fabric Posters: Design and Print solutions in Market Square are reusing any cloth/fabric posters you may have, the polyester/cotton type, which is hard to recycle. They are reusing them to line frame boxes.
  • Poster tubers: can be returned to Design and Print solutions
  • Plastic writing implements: pens, markers and highlighters. No wooden or metal items. A plastic pen/marker recycling box is available at stores counter, these are recycled via St Nick's.

Green Impact is an environmental accreditation scheme which is designed for University departments and other public sector organisations; the aim of the scheme is to encourage teams of people to make small environmental improvements to their work space and to recognise and celebrate their efforts. 

The Department has been very successful so far in its involvement with the scheme and you can find a full list of winning teams here.

If you are interested in Green Impact please contact Louise Simpson.

Recycling lab equipment (UniGreen) and lab plastics
  • UniGreen Lab equipment recycling scheme

    UniGreen offers a service that helps you recoup valuable space and generate revenue by collecting, storing, and selling your unused or surplus high-value laboratory equipment. Their mission is very simple: To help UK universities reduce waste, consume resources sustainably, and enable research organisations to thrive in an increasingly resource-constrained world. 

    If you have equipment in your lab that you no longer need, please consider using the UniGreen scheme to give it a new lease of life!

    UniGreen Scheme Information for the Department

    UniGreen Scheme Users Flowchart

  • Laboratory Plastic Recycling Scheme
    • There are more than 20 research groups who have opted into the scheme to dispose of uncontaminated/decontaminated lab plastics for recycling rather the usual route of disposal, deep landfill, and the scheme has recently received national recognition at the Green Gown Awards, a highly commended scheme.

    • Please consider joining your colleagues to extend the scheme across the department. A copy of the SOP and procedure for decontamination can be found here

Buying sustainably (lab equipment and home)

Lab equipment

Laboratory equipment can be purchased from UniGreen Scheme. UniGreen lists the saleable equipment it collects on its website alongside pictures and information (general condition, electrical status, tested etc.). If you find something you want to purchase, UniGreen is listed as a supplier in YEP as 'UNIVERSAL RESOURCE TRADING LTD' with SUPPLIER ID 216615. Generate a free-format order with this supplier for the sale price/quote agreed with UniGreen. Any queries, contact or for purchasing advice or take a look at some case-studies for further information from Biology staff who have bought items from UniGreen in the past.

Eco refill store coming to York

It was reported in the York Press that Asda is introducing an eco refill store to York in the hope of helping more customers reduce, reuse or recycle packaging. Starting in October, the store will start selling 70+ items in a refillable format and will have 18 bays with products, including groceries, pet food and toiletries.


We also recommend Scoop, a student-run cooperative providing organic, exploitation-free and locally sourced produce at affordable prices. You can buy groceries (bring your own containers to fill, or use the recycled containers they have there), sustainable toiletries and order vegetable boxes from their shop at Wentworth W/021 on Wednesdays and Fridays. The shop is open to all! Find out more by visiting the Scoop Facebook page.

If you're interested in shopping more sustainability now, why not check out York Press' guide to eco-friendly 'green' shops in and around York; you'll be supporting small local businesses too!

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