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Sustainable Living

Student digging at BT9 allotment

We recognise that the actions and choices of our community have a huge impact on the University's environmental footprint, with approx. 3,500 students living in our accommodation, we are committed to embedding sustainable working and thinking through education.

We ask all students to share our commitment to sustainability by participating and contributing to various projects:

  • ‘Switch off’ campaign – reducing the consumption of electricity by turning off lights, PC’s & televisions;
  • Environmental events to include adopt a plant / grow you own herb;
  • Clothes recycling throughout the year;
  • Community garden at Elms BT9;
  • Donating of unwanted items such as books, bedding, kitchen utensils, toiletries and non-perishable food;
  • Waste management – reduce & recycle initiatives.

Across accommodation we have introduced many things to help reduce our environmental impact:

  • Water butts to gather rainwater;
  • Cleaning – use of re-usable & eco-friendly products;
  • Bore well at Elms BT9 to reduce water mains consumption;
  • Secure bike storage facilities & opportunity to purchase recycled bikes. Queen’s also runs a bike hub where students can lease a bike for the academic year

We encourage all our residents to be environmentally responsible and supportive of the University’s commitment to sustainability. Students can help reduce our impact on the environment in the following easy ways.

Conserve energy

Switch off all lights when you don't need them, especially when you leave your room.

Don't leave electrical appliances on standby. Switch off your television, laptop, PC, and monitor, especially overnight or if you are away on weekends.

Conserve water

Turn off the taps when you don't use them and report dripping or leaking taps to your reception or through the online maintenance portal.

  • Recycling

    All students are responsible for keeping all areas clean and tidy and taking their recyclable materials to recycling points at each location/site of accommodation. 

    Waste should be sorted into the appropriate kitchen bins on a regular basis to ensure that as much as possible is recycled; please note that housekeeping staff will not empty the bins. Please do not leave rubbish outside your bedroom door or allow it to accumulate in kitchens. The waste left around the residence looks unsightly, encourages pests and can pose a risk of fire.

    Most items can be recycled if they are a single material. Please remember to rinse items before placing them in the bin; this will ensure that the recycling is better quality and reduce smells in the kitchen. You don't have to wash the items thoroughly; just rinse them so they're not coated with food.

    Put these items in general waste because paper or cards coated with food (such as pizza boxes) cannot be recycled.

    Remember to Reduce, reuse, recycle

    • Reduce the amount of rubbish you generate; for example, buy loose foods rather than pre-packaged produce, only print documents when necessary and be sure to print double-sided.
    • Reuse items whenever you can; for example, reuse carrier bags, use rechargeable batteries, buy washing powder in refillable containers (this will also save you money).
    • Recycle as much waste as possible! Sort your waste into the recycling bins provided; you will find these in accommodation and throughout the University.  
  • Accommodation Initiatives

    You can help reduce your impact on the climate crisis by taking personal action whilst living in Queen’s Accommodation.  We encourage everyone to participate in our initiatives.

    Switch Off Campaign

    Small changes in our own lives such as not leaving devices on standby help us all collectively tackle the climate emergency.  Our Environmental Mascot, Eco, will get students involved and switch off together, with a monthly competition across our accommodation for the building/apartment that uses the least energy.

    Elms BT9 Allotment 

    Learn new skills and grow your own fruit and veg at the student allotment.

    Working with external organisation The Conservation Volunteers and internal department Green at Queen's we empower students to learn about how to grow their own food with our student allotment project.

    The allotment current consists of 7 raised beds for vegetables and herbs, an orchard of 13 apple trees, and 14 berry bushes. The orchard contains 3-4 different apple varieties, and berry bushes grow redcurrants, gooseberries and blackcurrants.

    Students have grown peas, carrots, beetroot, chard, potatoes, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, onions, spring onion, garlic and chillies – all of which is harvested for them to eat and enjoy and share with other students. We plan to expand the allotment with more trees and raised beds to increase the capacity and biodiversity of growth. 

    Swap and Drop Clothes Rails at Accommodation 

    Forget fast fashion and refresh your wardrobe without spending a fortune.

    Swap your unloved items for something else at a clothes swap event in Queen’s accommodation. In BT1 common room and a BT9 and BT2 laundry room there are drop rails where you can swap something you no longer wear with something else. It is an excellent way to glow up while saving the planet as well!

    Bring your own mug and cup

    As part of our sustainability initiatives, we ask you to give up disposable cups and bring your own cups/cups when using our coffee bars. 

    Community Fridges

    At Queen’s Accommodation we want to support students during the cost-of-living crisis. We have three community fridges for students to take what they need and donate what they can (i.e. any unused food or food about to go out of date). We hope this both supports students who are struggling financially and reduces food waste.

    Thank you to @Queen’s Students’ Union shop for their donations so far. Our community refrigerators are located in the following locations: BT1: near the quiet rooms BT2: laundry room BT9: at the back of the Treehouse.

  • Travel

    At Queen’s University, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact. In support of this commitment, a Queen's Travel Survey is undertaken every two years. This survey allows us to understand how we could encourage more students (and staff) to travel to and from campus more sustainably.


    The university is well served by public transport, particularly Metro bus services.

    View a full list of Metro services and up-to-date online timetable information.

    ECIT/RVH Shuttle Bus

    A shuttle bus, provided by the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences, operates between Belfast City Hospital (bus stop at the side of the Tower Block) and Royal Victoria Hospital (bus stop at Royal Maternity). This service is free to staff and students on presentation of a staff/student card. Click here to find the schedule details.

    Translink provide a scheduled service between Elmwood Avenue (adjacent to the Students’ Union) and the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), located in the Northern Ireland Science Park. 


    The University is well served by public and train transport, with City Hospital and Botanic Avenue train stations within walking distance of the campus.

    View timetables on the Translink site.

    Travel Cards

    Students qualify for discounts on public transport (typically up to 33% off bus and rail journeys), students should purchase a Translink yLink card

    View Transport Information for Queen's Accommodation.


    Queen’s University aims to be a world leader in environmental and sustainable activities by encouraging and supporting environmental behaviour change amongst staff and students. Queen’s Sustainable Travel Plan encourages staff and students to consider alternative travel options, including using the train, bus, walking and cycling.


    Bike stands are across the University, and secure bike shelters are across the accommodation. 

    There are a few simple actions you can take to secure your bike. Always budget for a good quality lock – students can purchase a high quality 'D' lock, at a significantly reduced price (£10) from the Security Control Room (Level 1, Administration Building).

    If your bike is stolen on campus, please contact both the PSNI and the University's Security team.

    The University and PSNI are working together to promote bike security. Free security marking is available from the University Security (Level 1, Administration Building) or at regular promotional events throughout the school year.

    Get around with Belfast Bikes

    Take advantage of more than 400 bikes that you can rent 365 days a year from bike stations dotted around the city, one of which is located at Elms BT9. Be instantly flexible and move around the city quickly, for more information please click here.

    Belfast by Bike

    The Belfast by Bike guide provides useful information for safe and enjoyable urban cycling. It offers tips on safe cycling and the Highway Code and includes a map showing cycle routes in Belfast.

    Big Loop Bike Hub

    Book a repair slot at Big Loop Bikes for Service or Repair. Details of what you need to fix or maintain will be discussed when you drop off your bike. If you can’t get a booking slot that suits, give us a call on 028 90278088.