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UCD Green Library: Green Initiatives

Waste Reduction/Recycling

Waste in the bins:
Most of the waste in bins undergoes an off site segregation process to ensure as much as possible is recycled.

UCD Library is working with UCD Estate Services to achieve higher direct recycling rates  and to encourage and promote the importance of recycling waste . to support this work we have installed a range of segregated bins in the James Joyce Library and in the Vet Library.

We are eliminating 'single use' plastic in the library

Drinks in reusable "keep cups" are allowed in all UCD Libraries since September 2018

Encouraging the use of reusable containers reduces the waste generated by disposable cups



Our Book Swap, a collaboration with DLR Libraries, has been in action since April 2013

Unwanted books (DVD and CDs too!) can be left for reuse, instead of being thrown away

DLR Libraries donate their withdrawn stock to our Book Swap for reuse

Older withdrawn library books, not suitable for reuse, are recycled rather than going to landfill

sUCD Library donates decommissioned IT equipment to Camara Educationa not-for-profit social enterprise.

Camara Education securely erases all data and refurbishs the equipment for re-use in their projects.

Equipment that is not suitable for reuse is recycled, to ensure no waste ends up in landfill.



UCD Library contributes to the Circular Economy through our practice of upcycling, recycling and rehoming old furniture. 

As part of the Capital Development Project , the Library up-cycled over 1000 items of furniture, offering it to local communities, schools, Mens shed, charities etc. Items unsuitable for educational organisations or community centres were given to a local up-cycling business. This helped to divert it from landfill, and reduced the overall carbon footprint of the project.


UCD Library also participates in the UCD WarpIt initiative (Waste Action Reuse Portal) , which is run by UCD Estate Services.

UCD WarpIt, a robust recycling project, facilitates the reuse of furniture across UCD Campus. It promotes the benefits of sustainable waste management practices, and helps to reduce waste, and keep older furniture from landfill. 

Using UCD WartIt, the Library acquired second hand chairs and group study tables from WarpIt, as part of the refurbishment of the Veterinary Medicine Library, in 2022 Library

Working with UCD Estate Services, the Library provides access to with battery recycling boxes . This helps to ensure used batteries are recycled and kept out of landfill. Recycling of batteries helps to prevent pollution, contributes towards conserving our natural resources, helps to save energy, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


UCD Library has worked with DLR and Dublin City Libraries to help upcycle children's books, ensuring they find new homes and new readers . Providing this service is part of our contribution to the annual UCD Festival, and encourages children to read more and enjoy stories from around the world . Some remaining books were added to our Book Swap.


Library orientation freebies promote and encourage the use of biodegradable materials

We encourage students to reduce, reuse, or recycle

Past gifts include: re usable food wraps, biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes, and packaging free soap

Every year we create our main Christmas tree from recycled materials

Over the years, our tree has been made of withdrawn books, records, and even old library card catalogues!

In 2019 Greta Thunberg was chosen as the star topping our green 'sustainibili-tree '



Sustainable Transport/Commuting

UCD Library has partnered with the UCD Energy Institute in launching this "first of a kind in Ireland" initiative.

Provides the loan of e-bikes and folding bikes through UCD Library free of charge.

Helps to support the sustainable transport needs of UCD staff and the wider community.

The Library Facilities Team use one of the universities zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) to manage our postal delivery services, bring collections from the Newstead store, and support staff across the library service.


Through adopting a reduced mowing of  an area around the perimeter of the James Joyce Library we are now part of the UCD campus Pollinator Plan. This will now encourage wildflowers to grow and strengthen the biodiversity in this area.

In September 2023 the refurbished Level 3 floor of the James Joyce Library included a significant number of plants throughout the interior space, not just adding a splash of colour  but cultivating living organisms within the building. The inclusion of indoor plants has been shown to benefit both the physical and psychological well-being of building occupants, and to create different aesthetic environments.

The addition of real plants and trees have been a feature of our newly furbished library spaces since the opening of the Health Sciences Library in 2007.

Inclusion of the James Joyce Library building perimeter to the UCD Pollinator Plan, encouraging natural biodiversity

UCD campus has 3 lakes, 26 species of birds, and approximately 50,000 trees

More information about biodiversity in UCD is available on the UCD Estates Services Biodiversity webpage 

UCD named winners of the 2016 Intervarsity Bioblitz

May 2017 UCD Library staff visited UCD Rosemount apiary to learn about bees (tour conducted by Dr. Brian Tobin)

Energy Efficiency

In early 2019 new LED lights were installed in the foyer and Library Hub area of the James Joyce Library

In 2022 new LED lights were installed in the ceilings of the Veterinary Medicine Library Library

Switching to LED light can reduce electricity consumption for lighting by up to 50%

Additional LED lighting upgrades are planned

Our print suppliers are doing their bit for the environment too.

  • Doggett Group are a carbon neutral printing company using FSC paper from managed forests. They also contribute to a world wide fund for all paper that they take in: 
  • Copy Graphics manage their printing services in an environmentally sound manner, using recycled paper and ink cartridges
  • In 2023/24 unwanted paper supplies were donated to local primary schools, creches, and special schools for children with autism 

Water Conservation

To help keep our students hydrated we have installed water fountains throughout our buildings.  These refill stations help make sure that water is not wasted as students can manage the water flow. This helps to reduce the number of single use plastic bottles in circulation. We plan to add a new water fountain to the Health Sciences Library in the summer 2024