The University of Leeds has constantly improved recycling rates through innovative contracts and creative methods of engaging with our staff and student population. 

We have recently signed a new waste & recycling contract with AWM for the provision of waste and recycling services at the University. Our segregated recycling has remained at 40% over the last 6 years and the contract has set performance KPIs to increase segregated recycling from 40 – 60% over a 3-year period. We’ll keep you updated of progress through our annual sustainability report.  In the meantime the following changes should be noted:

  • Paper and card – we ask not to put corrugated card or coffee cups into this bin. It contaminates the waste stream and makes recovery very difficult
  • Plastics – we can no longer put Tetra Pak, crisp packets or thin plastic films into this bin as they are usually made of composite (bonded) materials which are practically impossible to separate. They should be disposed via the general waste bins.
  • Glass – Nothing has really changed here, but please remember not to put Pyrex (microwave dishes, etc.) into this bin.
  • Metals – the main change here is aerosols. Even if empty, the legislation has changed and these should now be disposed of as hazardous waste. If you use the general waste bins for these, the company we use recover them and dispose on our behalf in line with regulatory requirements.
  • Food – the main change here is to not add compostable cups, dishes, cutlery,etc. This includes wooden items. This is because our food is now sent to Anaerobic digestion rather than to compost, so these materials are useless in this process.  Please use the general waste bins for these items.
  • General waste – please only use this bin if you have to.  Consider whether it can go into the other bins first and only do is as a last resort.

Finally, if you have a particular type of material, or it is too large for the bins, always ask yourself if you can reuse first locally, or using the reuse@leeds system to reuse across the University.  If not, you can check our A-Z here to find the material and guidance.  If you have any questions or need any further guidance, please contact

Click on the image below to see our new bin labels.