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Sustainability on campus

How we're reducing our environmental footprint

We’re finding ways to operate more sustainably through a range of practical initiatives. Currently we are consulting with our staff and students to develop a University-wide sustainability strategy that will help us prioritise where we can make the biggest impact.

Better recycling, less waste

A new initiative to help us achieve our target recycling rate of 80% across the University. We are installing new waste and recycling stations around campus as part of the campaign.

  • Yellow recycling bin – for plastic bottles, glass bottles and metal cans. 
  • Red landfill bin – for everything that can’t be recycled including food waste, disposable coffee cups, and some plastic packaging and bags.
  • Blue paper/cardboard bin – for clean, printed paper and cardboard, including stapled documents and magazines.
For more information, read more on better recycling, less waste and what you can recycle and where

Sustainable built environment

Photo of solar panels.

Our Sustainability Framework ensures our built environment is resource efficient, operationally cost-effective and provides improved environmental, economic and social benefits to student, staff and surrounding communities.

Our current projects include:

  • A solar water system and green roof for the Australian Institute of Nanoscience
  • Rainwater reuse and a rooftop solar photovoltaic system in the Abercrombie Precinct
  • Rainwater reuse, 200 cycle parking spaces, a solar photovoltaic system, rooftop gardens and a community garden in the Queen Mary Building

Our Sustainability Framework

  • Design building and site characteristics interface with the local area and consider architectural and landscape heritage
  • Services and amenities create vibrant areas that are visually interesting and safe
  • Sustainable transport strategies, including secure bicycle storage facilities, end-of-trip facilities (showers and lockers) and cycle ways to facilitate cost-effective active transport and mobility
  • Best practice integrated design approach and knowledge sharing
  • Communication strategies to engage students, staff, local community and the wider public
  • Healthy multi-purpose, flexible spaces for working, studying and living
  • Preference for sustainable and environmentally friendly fit-out materials which are sustainably produced with low life-cycle environmental impacts
  • Opportunities for maximising natural daylight input, external views and natural ventilation
  • Management plans to reduce energy, water and waste
  • Solar-passive building design of building facades and glazing elements to reduce reliance on heating ventilation and air conditioning plant to maintain thermal comfort
  • Energy efficient lighting and controls
  • Building controls and monitoring devices for efficient operation of plant and equipment
  • Renewable energy systems and water harvesting systems
  • Increased use of building materials with recycled content
  • Conservation of native flora and fauna biodiversity
  • Use of landscape elements to enhance building microclimates

Pesticides Use Notification Plan available

The University of Sydney and Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness have introduced a Pesticides Use Notification Plan, which explains how community members will be notified of pesticide applications in the University's public places. Pesticide notification allows the community to avoid potential contact with pesticides.  

The Pesticides Use Notification Plan will apply to the University's campuses in Camden, Camperdown, Darlington, Cumberland (Lidcombe) and Rozelle.  

You are able to access the notification plan in two ways:

Resource efficiency

To help us benchmark progress, we capture and report on our consumption, waste generation and carbon emissions across our campuses. We are also implementing a system to monitor energy and water consumption across our buildings in real time.

Water is a precious resource and essential in maintaining our natural landscapes, which are an important part of our campuses. Our water conservation initiatives include:

  • smart irrigation technologies
  • water-sensitive urban design to manage stormwater
  • minimum water-efficiency standards for new buildings and refurbishments
  • rainwater harvesting systems in new buildings

Transport and mobility

To help reduce the impact of motor vehicles, we’re developing a transport and mobility plan to create a more accessible, pedestrian-friendly environment.

The plan aims to promote walking, cycling and public transport to reduce single-occupancy car trips and the number of vehicles on our campus, and better manage car parking demand.

University community garden

Located on Maze Crescent opposite the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, the Ground Up Community Garden brings staff and students together to learn and practise urban horticulture

Our aim is to promote sustainable, organic food production by cultivating healthy, home-grown produce. We work together to plant, grow, harvest and share the produce from 12 inground plots, six raised beds and numerous planter bags.

Volunteers are always welcome to join in our regular working bees and learn about composting, worm farms, weeding, mulching, companion planting, water-efficient irrigation systems and more.

Working bees run during the summer on Thursdays (4.30pm–6.30pm) and the second Saturday of each month (10.30am–2.30pm).

Join the Ground Up Facebook group to keep up-to-date on garden news and upcoming events. For more information or to become a member, email