A WELSH university has become the first in Wales to achieve the Carbon Trust’s Zero Waste to Landfill certification.

It is a boost for Swansea University, which has committed to minimising waste and increasing sustainability.

The university has achieved the Carbon Trust Standard previously for year-on-year reduction of total waste and the new certification came after six months of rigorous auditing and independent verification.

Fiona Wheatley, waste and recycling officer at Swansea University, said: “Working with the Carbon Trust and our waste management supplier Mitie to achieve this certification has been an excellent exercise in evaluating the journey of all our waste streams.

“We can now confidently state we are a Zero Waste to Landfill university. Given we have more than 40 waste streams, due to the breadth of our research, this accreditation has been a significant undertaking, and we are thrilled with the outcome.”

The university is a research-heavy institute and its waste does include hazardous waste, so the achievement is significant and shows the university’s commitment to improving waste management practices and identifying new ways of recycling waste and diverting items from landfill.

Part of the strategy was to reduce single-use items through sustainable procurement and to work with suppliers to ensure that no waste goes to landfill.

The outcome of the audit and independent verification showed that no waste went to landfill in the 2021-22 academic year and more than 63 per cent of all waste was diverted into energy recovery.

The focus was on reuse and recycling, composting and sending food waste for anaerobic digestion, which produces biogas and bio-fertilisers.

It's not the end of the road for Swansea University in terms of their zero waste journey as they will be continuing to work to eliminate all single use items from food and drink outlets.

The focus will be on minimising and eliminating single use laboratory plastic, installing more than 131 water refill points across both campuses to reduce plastic waste.

It will also introduce 25p discount for anyone using reusable coffee cups, replace single use plastic cutlery with sustainable compostable wood alternatives and replace plastic drinks straws with compostable alternatives across campus catering and in the Students’ Union.

Teifion Maddocks, head of sustainability, said: “Achieving the Carbon Trust’s Zero Waste to Landfill certification really demonstrates our university’s leadership and management to driving down the creation of waste, diverting it from incineration and landfill.

“The accreditation illustrates our collective efforts to optimising waste avoidance, create a community of reuse and recycling, boosting the circular economy, driving down emissions on our path to net zero by 2035.”

The Carbon Trust is a global climate consultancy driven by the mission to accelerate the move to a decarbonised future. Its Zero Waste to Landfill certification recognises organisations which demonstrate leadership in waste management.