The University of Leeds and Leeds University Union have together pledged to become single-use plastic-free by 2023.

The campaign, Single Out: 2023PlasticFree commits the University and Union to phase out single-use plastic across the board, not just in catering and office spaces.

The five-year campaign will involve mapping plastic use across the University and Union, and then identifying action plans for more challenging areas. It will also include working with partners and supply chains to phase out the amount of plastic products and packaging coming onto campus. Explore more about our pledge on the tabs below.

Support the #2023plasticfree pledge on Twitter @UoL_Sus, Instagram @uol_sus or email ideas to


“We are proud to be at the forefront of efforts to reduce plastic waste and our pledge sends a very clear message about our ambition to be single-use plastic free within the next five years. This new drive will also have a series of targets to reduce the use of all kinds of plastic, improve recycling capabilities and build on our ground-breaking research to tackle this important global challenge.” Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor

“This is a huge commitment and a big challenge for us, but we are determined to play our part by acting together to reduce our plastic footprint. We’ve already made so much progress, with strong recycling rates and catering initiatives such as our reusable cups becoming an integral part of our operations. We hope this pledge inspires all staff and students to take up the challenge of collectively reducing our use of throwaway plastics, across campus and beyond.” Dr Louise Ellis, Director of Sustainability at the University

“As a Union, we are delighted to announce this joint pledge to be single-use plastic-free by 2023. Students have often been ahead of the national agenda, with freshers’ week plastic bag free and ensuring we have biodegradable alternatives in the Union – this pledge is another step where the University community can lead the way. We are looking forward to working in partnership with the University to make sure we all have a positive impact on this future-defining issue for the planet.” Chris Morris, Union Affairs Officer at Leeds University Union

“The shift in public opinion about the use of plastics has been phenomenal, but organisations of all shapes and sizes need to champion change. I think this commitment will inspire lots of people to think about how the University – as an institution that leads the way on sustainability – can make a difference. As a leading research university, we also have an important role in developing expertise. From working on alternatives to plastics and helping improve waste management, we’ll be supporting the difficult challenges ahead to ensure plastics don’t end up in the natural environment.” Professor Dame Jane Francis, University Chancellor and Director of the British Antarctic Survey