The University of Cape Town produces nearly 5 to 7 tonnes of waste daily, of which at least 60 - 70% is recyclable. Waste recycling is one of the simplest ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions: as a simple example, 90% of the energy used to produce a tin is saved by recycling one used tin. Recycling is one simple change that can reduce UCT’s carbon footprint and at the same time change the waste management behaviour of more than 20 000 students yearly.

Campus recycling

How does Recycling work at UCT

UCT, like many other institutions and organisations worldwide, uses a 2-stream waste policy. All around campus there are green-lidded bins for recyclable/dry waste (anything that can be sorted), and yellow-lidded bins for non-recyclable/wet waste. (anything that is too unhygienic to sort: food, organic, sanitary, medical and garden waste).

Off-campus recycling

Off-campus recyclingUCT does not currently provide facilities for people who live off campus and want to recycle. However, recycling is becoming very popular and much easier around Cape Town. There are various companies that will pick up your recyclables for a fee (dependant on the volume) and there are many public and private recycling depots, often at schools, which will take your waste.


Joining the GCI could mean a number of things, from simply being a member of our mailing list to spearheading a brand-new project. It really depends on how involved you want to be! The GCI is a volunteer-based organization and welcomes members from every sphere of the UCT community.

Green Week

Green Week is the GCI's largest annual awareness-raising drive: five days packed with events that are both fun and enlightening. It serves as the main means of communication between the GCI and the students and staff around issues of sustainability. The primary objective is to engage with the student body and demonstrate that 'sustainability' is applicable on multiple levels, from individuals to groups to institutions to cities. Each year, Green Week has a theme around which the events are curated. Previous themes included:

Meet the Green Team

The GCI, although the largest society on campus, is coordinated by a small group of hard-working individuals full of drive and ambition. If you would like to get in touch with any of them (for ideas, advice, or anything else), please don't hesitate to contact them. If you'd like to become part of the Green Team, email us at



ResidencesResidences have a critical role to play in reducing UCT's environmental footprint, and provide a great opportunity to influence the future behaviour of students.

Green Campus Action Plan

The Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP) was commissioned by the Properties and Services Department at UCT, with the approval of the Environmental Management Working Group (EMWG). The focus of the project has been activities of UCT Properties and Services - namely facilities development, maintenance, and operations - since these are within the sphere of influence of the department. Other departments included are ICTS and Procurement. The GCAP provides a detailed set of actions and recommendations to make the university "Green".


HistoryThis history is intended to give a rough outline of the progress of sustainability at UCT. In doing so it will hopefully provide perspective on what has, and what still needs to be, achieved. The focus is on sustainability on the actual campus, so does not mention the impressive research by many staff dealing with these issues in the last few decades. Much of it is adapted from the UCT Green Campus Action Plan