Responsible Consumption

Responsible Consumption

Reducing waste by consuming responsibly

Our problem with waste starts with our problem with consumption. Every time we purchase something there is an associated waste that comes from its production plus the inevitable waste when we are finished with it. But it doesn't have to be that way! In a sustainable economy, it is time to start thinking more circular...

Designing out waste

When designing a product, a process or even a building some might consider waste a natural part of the design process. But this does not have to be the case. It is estimated that 80% of the environmental impact a product has is determined at the design stage so by considering this and moving away from ideas of built in obsolescence, fast fashion and traditional ownership could help us reduce the 80%. That is not to say items still won't reach the end of their usefulness but if we have designed products that are made from materials that can be remade/reused into new things then we could close the circle and design outs waste for good.


An illustration of the globe with trees and mountains on top of it and countdown clock on the earth

Explaining the Circular Economy

Watch this simple animation to see an explanation of how a circular economy could and is working.

Fishing boats at sunset with the Interface and ZSL logo in white over it.

Building waste prevention into any business

Interface is one of our carpet suppliers. Find out how they are finding new uses for a critical waste problem as part of their Mission Zero.

Illustration of plastic on plate rather than fish

What's the problem?

The trend for single use items (particularly that made of plastic) is causing a massive problem for our oceans. (warning: dead birds/dissection)

What are we doing at the University?

The Procurement Team at the University are responsible for and committed to responsible, ethical and sustainable procurement activity both directly and through its suppliers. You can read more at on the Procurement Team's work at the website by clicking the link to the right. This included information on Modern Slavery and our tendering processes.

The FutureProof project run by the Sustainability Team aims to support departments embed the SDG's into their activities including Goal 12 Responsible Consumption and Production. 

Red seats around a white table with a blue bowl on it.
"National Office Furniture - NeoCon 2012" by Brentano fabric. CC PDM 1.0.

Did you know?

The Warp It project, run by the Estates Department, helps us reuse furniture across the University (an beyond) so that we do not need to buy new or throw away good quality items. Since we started using Warp It the University has saved over £750000 and an associated 363111KG of carbon dioxide.


A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Waste and Recycling Team