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

Two year update

Read what progress had been made at the two year point after announcing our bold plastic free ambition.

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

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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. 

The hugely ambitious target was one of the first and boldest pledges of any Higher Education organisation, showing our leadership in researching, testing and implementing solutions to address global problems.  

Covid-19 and the plastic pledge 

The Covid-19 pandemic 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 was still made. 

Our community made some amazing achievements during this challenging period, and in May 2022 the Big Plastic Count came to campus to help us understand the lasting impact of Covid-19 on plastic usage. 

Read the full news story

Achieving our ambitions

We remain committed to removing unnecessary single use plastics. This will require collaboration from all areas of the University, across 3 key areas: 

  • 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 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. 


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

Perhaps you carry a refillable water bottle in your bag, pack your shopping into reusable bags at the supermarket, or...


In May 2022 the Big Plastic Count came to the University of Leeds, and we asked students and staff to...


One of the biggest sources of waste for individuals, and particularly plastic waste, comes from packaging. It is often the...


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


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.