Two years on

It’s been two years since the pledge was made and our commitment to fulfilling this bold ambition remains as strong as ever.

Read the full update
LUU building in the background behind some grass, trees and a bench with plastic free logo on

What can I do?

We have pledged to be single-use plastic-free by 2023, to achieve this ambitious target we need everyone’s support.

How can you help?
Two branded reusable cups to celebrate the plastic free pledge

Keep in touch

Stay up to date by signing up to our newsletter and receive sustainability tips, advice and pictures straight into your inbox.

Sign up to our newsletter
Hyde Park Mural by Maya Cross Odemudia

Plastic pledge

In 2018 the University of Leeds and Leeds University Union made a collaborative pledge to remove single-use plastic across all of its operations by 2023, #2023PlasticFree.

This pledge was one of the first and boldest pledges of any Higher Education organisation, showing our leadership in finding and implementing solutions to address global problems. The hugely ambitious target covers all areas of the University and will involve collaboration, research and operational changes to be successful.

Find out more about how you can help us to achieve this goal.

Two years on

It’s been two years since the pledge was made and our commitment to fulfilling this bold ambition remains as strong as ever. The Covid-19 pandemic might have made it necessary to increase the use of some single-use plastic items to keep our staff and students safe, but a huge amount of progress has still been made towards reaching our goal.

Read about the amazing achievements our community has made, both on campus and further afield, in our most recent update.

Read the full news story

Achieving our goal

To achieve this ambitious target it will require collaboration from all areas of the University, our strategy falls in to 3 key areas of activity:

  • Operational changes that include mapping single-use plastic, building the knowledge and capacity of staff, and changing operational processes in support of the pledge.
  • Research on single-use plastic is encouraged across academics and the student curriculum to find innovative alternatives, develop infrastructure and promote behaviour change.
  • Collaborative networks of activity have been developed between staff and students as well as with external stakeholders, supply chain and sector partners in order to share learning and overcome the challenges together.

These three core elements are all underpinned by communication, engagement and governance.


Find out more about how you can help us to achieve this goal or get in touch. 

Latest work

Need some inspiration to get involved? Take a read of the amazing work that is already taking place and start planning how you can make a positive change as well.

View more

Ashley is a PhD student in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and a Student Sustainability Architect investigating sustainability...


An understanding of sustainability issues is becoming increasingly important for any job role, not just sustainability professionals or climate scientists....


The Protein Production Facility receives the first LEAF Silver Certificate at the University. Laura Wilkinson Hewitt is a Staff Sustainability Architect in...


The team at the Careers Centre have shown how anyone can work with colleagues across the university, and with suppliers,...


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our plastic pledge is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • Goal 14: Life below water
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.