Desk top binsUQ Sustainability is undertaking a new waste-reduction initiative that involves removing under-desk bins in office areas and replacing them with central waste and recycling stations.

Currently, around 30% of UQ’s landfill waste could be recycled. A large contributor to our lower recycling rates is the number of under desk bins we have in our offices, and the small act of replacing these with central waste and recycling stations will:

  • increase recycling and reduce waste going to landfill
  • increase individual responsibility for waste created
  • save more than 500,000 plastic bin liners every year
  • reduce cleaning and waste disposal costs.

UQ Wellness supports this initiative, as it encourages staff to take regular breaks from their desks to empty their desktop mini bin or paper recycling box. Consider waste disposal good for your health!

Please email if you require any further information.

Please complete the Feedback Form to provide feedback, make a suggestion or report a concern.

When will bins in my building be removed?

The pilot stage of the initiative will involve the removal of under desk bins in office areas in the following buildings:

  • Prentice
  • QBI
  • Warehouse
  • JD Story

Bin removal will commence in November 2018 and will be monitored and reviewed for a period of three months. During the review period, building occupants will be encouraged to provide comments via the feedback form above.

Once the pilot stage is complete and the implementation process is revised, the initiative will be rolled out across all UQ precincts in 2019. Information regarding ongoing implementation will be communicated on this webpage and within UQ Update.

Where's my bin?

Your under-desk bin has been removed and replaced with new waste and recycling stations located in central locations throughout your office or kitchen areas. 

Why? With this simple move, you’ll help UQ increase recycling and reduce waste going to landfill.

What's changed?

We’re asking you to take your own waste and recycling to the new centralised waste and recycling stations located within your office or kitchen areas. 

Mini bins now are available for you to use on your desk for small waste items. You will be required to empty your mini bins into the central waste or recycling bins.  

To request a mini bin, log a 'waste' request in ARCHIBUS

What's staying the same?

All food waste must still be placed in the general (red) waste bins located in kitchen areas, as only these bins are serviced daily (where organics collection is not available).

Used paper will still go into your under-desk paper recycling boxes, these boxes will not be removed. When full, you should still empty these boxes into the paper wheelie bins located in your building.

To request an under-desk paper recycling box, log a 'waste' request in ARCHIBUS

Which bin do I use?


 Recyclable waste goes into the yellow bin:

  • Plastic bottles and containers (including yoghurt and take-away containers)
  • Glass bottles and jars
  • Milk and juice cartonsDisposable coffee cup lids

Paper Recycling

Paper waste goes into the under-desk paper recycling boxes (you will continue to empty these into the paper recycling wheelie bins located in your building):

  • Clean or printed paper (no need to remove staples)
  • White, coloured and glossy paper
  • Magazines, newspapers and books
  • Envelopes (including ones with plastic windows)

General waste

General waste goes into the red bins and then to landfill:

  • Plastic bags, packaging, wrappers and straws
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • Styrofoam cups and containers
  • Pens and pencils
  • Tissues and paper towels
  • Food scraps (where organics collection is not available)

What else can I recycle?

The following items can also be recycled at UQ: 

  • Batteries
  • Cardboard and polystyrene
  • E-waste
  • Mobile phones
  • Toners and inkjet cartridges 
  • Soft plastic.

Information about how to arrange collection for these items can be found here.

How to order a mini bin or under-desk paper recycling box

To request a mini bin or an under-desk paper recycling box, log a 'waste' request in ARCHIBUS

What happens to the removed waste bins?

Both metal and plastic bins are being donated to charities. The charities are selling the bins to generate revenue for their causes.

Who else has removed their under desk bins?

Centralised waste management is fast becoming industry standard. It has successfully implemented in Griffith University, QUT, JCU, USC, Macquarie University, La Trobe University, University of Sydney, UTS, University of Adelaide, Deakin University, RMIT and Monash University, to name a few.

A number of areas within the University have already voluntarily removed their under-desk bins.  Congratulations to the following leaders:

  • Level 3 QBI
  • Office of Marketing and Communications
  • School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
  • Dorothy Hill Engineering and Sciences Library
  • Health, Safety and Wellness Division
  • UQ Library
  • PACE Library
  • Architecture and Music Library
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Library


Can my area opt in early for desk top bins?

Yes you can.  To request desk top bins to replace under-desk bins and their liners, please Request a bin swap (please detail number of bins to swap & location).

What about accessibility considerations?

The UQ Sustainability Office is committed to maintaining an environment that is accessible and inclusive to people of all abilities. If your work environment needs to be adjusted, or if you require an under-desk bin, please talk to your supervisor.