Image of Fariha Aasam

Ten minutes with Fariha Aasam

Last updated on 18 January 2024

Meet Fariha Aasam, Waste Manager in the Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds. Fariha joined the University in December 2023 and is focusing on making waste management more sustainable at the University.

Describe your job in a few sentences.

I am responsible for managing the waste contract of university and developing and implementing effective waste management strategies to minimise environmental impact and ensure compliance with regulations. I coordinate waste collection, recycling programs, and disposal methods on campus.

I also collaborate with departments to raise awareness about sustainable practices and promotes a culture of waste reduction among students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, I analyse waste data, track trends, and recommend improvements to enhance the University’s overall environmental sustainability efforts.

Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on how we can improve the rates of recycling at the University and how we can make students and staff aware about re-using, recycling and reducing waste.

What aspects of your job do you think are most important to people at the University?

My role is really collaborative in nature because I have to work with departments across the University, like the Cleaning team and the Sustainability team. I work with students and staff to help make processes more sustainable and to raise awareness of sustainable practice. We need to make people aware of how they can reduce waste before it’s been produced by re-using, recycling and re-thinking if we need to buy something.

It’s inspiring to see the campus community come together to make a collective effort towards a greener and cleaner environment.

What part of the job are you looking forward to most this year?

I am enthusiastic about implementing circular economy principles to reduce the University’s waste footprint. I’m looking forward to creating a more sustainable system where waste is being minimised and resources are being used more efficiently.

We are also well underway in our work for the University’s Climate Plan, which is a real priority for the University. It’s exciting to work on something that holds such importance, not just for the University of Leeds, but for everyone, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much progress we make over the next 12 months.

Can you tell us a bit about your background before you joined the University?

I am an environmentalist with over nine years of experience in waste management industry. In 2018, I received an Erasmus Plus Scholarship from the European Union to study a Masters in Urban Climate and Sustainability.

After that I worked with NHS Scotland on implementation of circular economy in procurement to make of healthcare sector sustainable. Most recently, I completed an MSc in Climate Justice from Glasgow Caledonian University.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy the collaborative nature of what I do. I work with students, staff and the different departments within the University every day. I get to speak with so many different people, which is amazing. I’m excited to see how we can work together to create more impact.

Knowing that the work I do today will have a positive impact on the university and the environment for years to come is incredibly satisfying. It’s about leaving a legacy of sustainable practices for future generations.

Find out more about the University’s net zero goals.