Waste (sustainable operations)

Our long-term vision is that AUT won't send any waste to landfill – instead, our waste will be reduced, reused, recycled, repurposed, or composted. AUT will be a place where staff and students are inspired to rethink the future through a circular economy approach.

What we're doing to meet waste targets

AUT's short-term target in the Sustainability Roadmap to reduce waste to landfill by 50% by 2025, with a 2018 baseline. We will:

  • Expand the organic waste collection across all campuses
  • Improve quality and extent of waste data
  • Put in place a new waste contract to support increased waste diversion
  • Improve the education and awareness of staff and students around waste related issues
  • Increase partnerships with internal and external stakeholders to provide knowledge, collaboration, and exchange of materials

Waste initiatives on campus

In 2022, we recycled 148 tonnes, created 83 tonnes of organic waste for composting and generated 458 tonnes of waste to landfill. Here are some of the initiatives we're working on around our campuses to reduce waste.

Organic waste

Organic waste is collected in all buildings throughout the City Campus. The aim is to roll this out across the other two campuses with a mix of onsite composting as well as  processing compost off campus at the Envirofert commercial composting site. There are eight worm farms/bins for processing food waste from the School of Hospitality and Tourism and a compost hub on the North Campus.


AUT aims to divert as much waste from landfill as possible. These items can be recycled on campus:

  • Batteries, fluorescent tubes, metal and electronic equipment: all three campuses
  • Mobile phones: there are recycling stations at North and City campuses
  • Used furniture: stored for reuse at AUT, donated to charity or where it has reached the end of its useful life some parts are recycled
  • Used pens: collected at all AUT libraries for recycling through TerraCycle
  • Carpet tiles: AUT uses carpet tiles across all campuses and many are 100% recyclable

Cutting out plastic waste

AUT is working with staff and students to eliminate single use plastic from AUT. If we don’t act now, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea (by weight) than fish.

AUT has reduced the use of single-use plastics by eliminating plastic bags, straws, cutlery, and plastic coffee cups at all AUT run food outlets.

Many AUT cafes and events now use reusable crockery and cutlery, and all takeaway packaging from AUT cafes is compostable, except recyclable drink bottles and cans. AUT Student Association’s Vesbar offers metal reusable straws.

What you can do

Help reduce waste efficiently:

  • Sort your waste into the right bins
  • Avoid buying plastic packaged items – especially plastics 3-7. Choose glass, tin, compostable or unpackaged instead.
  • Take your own drink bottle, coffee cup and container when heading out
  • Avoid printing – use digital instead
  • Before you buy, think about how the product was made and where it will end up

AUT's sustainability targets

Learn about all of our sustainability targets, and what we're doing to achieve them, in the AUT Sustainability Roadmap.

Sustainability Roadmap