Recycling

At the University of Leeds, we reduce our waste by thinking before we buy and using fewer resources in the first place. We reuse items through our reuse@Leeds website.

To make sure we have a clear picture of how effective our recycling is we measure the waste that goes into our general waste and recycling bins. From this we know that 54% is recycled and the remaining is incinerated to create energy.

How to recycle on campus

It’s really important to put the right material in the right bin. Contamination of recycling bins means the contents have to go to general waste and can’t be recycled.

We’ve put together this guide to explain what can and can’t go into specific bins.

If you have a particular type of material, or an item is too large for the bins, always see if it can be reused locally, or use the reuse@leeds system to share items across the University.

A-Z Recycling Guide

A

Aluminium cans and foil

Metal recycling bins

Aerosols

Legally, all aerosol containers should be treated as hazardous waste (even if empty).  Please contact Sarah Burdall in Wellbeing, Safety & Health to arrange removal.

Note: It is now illegal to dispose of aerosol containers in the main waste stream.

Acetates

Please use plastic recycling bins.

Aluminium foil

Please use the metal recycling bins.

B

Batteries (domestic type)

All small AA-type and coin-type batteries can be put into the battery recycling bins on campus, or by contacting Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk to organise a collection.

Note: Please ensure these are well-packaged.

Batteries (large)

For all lithium, cadmium, mercury, lead acid or rechargeable batteries, please contact Sarah Burdall in Wellbeing, Safety & Health to arrange collection.

Books

Firstly, offer on the reuse@leeds website. If this is unsuccessful, or for any out-of-date books or journals, please contact cleaning services to arrange a collection.

Bottles (glass)

If not reusable, please use the glass recycling bins.

Bottles (plastic)

If not reusable, please use the plastic recycling bins.

C

Cables

If not reusable contact cleaning services to arrange collection.

Cardboard boxes (thick)

Packaging can be returned with the supplier on request at point of purchase. Alternatively, cardboard skips are located around campus. Contact cleaning services via the Estates HelpDesk for further details on locations.

Card/boxes (thin)

Use the office paper recycling bins. Alternatively, cardboard skips are located around campus.

Catalogues and directories

Use the office paper recycling bins. For large collections contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk.

Christmas cards

Use paper recycling bins.

CDs, floppy disks and tapes

Box, label clearly and send in the internal post to Cleaning Services, Basement of Education Building, Hilary Place.  Keep under lock and key until collection.

Note: Please ensure these are well-packaged.

Chemicals

Contact Sarah Burdall in Wellbeing, Safety & Health.

Clothing

If of a reusable condition, offer onto the reuse@leeds service, or donate to a local charity shop.

Coffee cups

If available, please use the coffee cup recycling bins provided if you can, or general waste bins otherwise – and ensure you drain all liquids before disposing.

Note: We are currently looking into an alternative solution to this problem.

Coffee grounds

Please use the food waste bins.

Coffee jars (glass)

If not reusable, please use the glass recycling bins.

Computers

If in a reusable condition, ask IT if it is economical to wipe all data and reimage it with the standard University desktop image.  If this is feasible once this has been done redeploy within the department or offer onto the reuse@leeds service to redistribute around campus.   Under no circumstances should computers or associated peripherals be taken for domestic use and/or sold for personal profit.

If this is not feasible contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk for collection.  Equipment with further life will be tested, wiped and sold by Stone computers (generating University income) or broken down into recyclable components.

The only exception to this is if you are disposing of servers or specialist equipment, which would need to be evaluated before a disposal route can be identified and may need to go back to the original supplier. If items are not of a reusable quality contact cleaning services via the Estates HelpDesk to arrange collection.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

Crisp packets (with or without foil)

Please use the general waste bins.

Cutlery (plastic)

Please use plastic recycling bins.

Cutlery (wooden or compostable)

Please use the general waste bins.

D

Drink and food cans (all types)

Please use the metal recycling bins.

E

Electrical (IT)

Please follow the same procedure as with computers.  Under no circumstances should computers or associated peripherals be taken for domestic use and/or sold for personal profit.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

Electrical (non-IT)

If reusable, offer on to the reuse@leeds  website. If unsuccessful, contact Cleaning Services to arrange collection.  Under no circumstances should computers or associated peripherals be taken for domestic use and/or sold for personal profit.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

Electrical (contaminated)

Contact Sarah Burdall in Wellbeing, Safety & Health.  Under no circumstances should computers or associated peripherals be taken for domestic use and/or sold for personal profit.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

Envelopes (non-padded)

Set a box up in your stationery area for reusable envelopes. Alternatively, offer on to the reuse@leeds website. For any envelopes that are not of a reusable condition, put into the office paper recycling bins.

Envelopes (padded)

If not of a reusable condition, please use the general waste bins.

F

Food waste

Use food waste bins in kitchens and recycling areas. Contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk if you need a food bin.

Furniture

If reusable, offer onto the reuse@leeds website. If unsuccessful (or for large amounts of furniture), contact Over2Hills or Right Green Recycle, who are approved University contractors who offer a collection and reuse service. For smaller amounts of furniture, contact the Estates HelpDesk to arrange a collection.

For re-upholstery, there are University-approved suppliers who provide a number of services including re-upholstery of chairs, re-varnishing of tables, desks and cupboards.  Contact Sustainability for further information. Under no circumstances should furniture be taken for domestic use and/or sold for personal profit.

Folders

If reusable, set up a stationary box in your area or offer onto the reuse@leeds  website. If unsuccessful or not possible, arrange for a collection via the Estates HelpDesk.

G

Gas canisters

Try to organise take-back with suppliers prior to purchase. If this is not possible, contact Sarah Burdall in Wellbeing, Safety & Health.

Glass containers (e.g. coffee jars – non-lab)

Please use the glass recycling bins.

Glass containers (lab-type)

There are a number of bins on campus you can use to dispose of waste.  Speak with your local lab manager for more information, or contact cleaning services.

Note: Not to be recycled with normal glass.

Glass panels

Typically includes items such as cupboard doors, window panes, etc. Contact the Estates HelpDesk to arrange collection.

H

Hand towels

Please use the general waste bins

Hazardous waste

Waste is considered ‘hazardous’ under environmental legislation when it contains substances or has properties that might make it harmful to human health or the environment.  This does not necessarily mean it is an immediate risk to human health, although some waste can be.

Contact Sarah Burdall in Wellbeing, Safety & Health to arrange for safe collection of this type of waste.

Healthcare waste

Healthcare waste is defined in the ‘HTM07-01 – Safe Management of Healthcare Waste’, a publication by the Department of Health as Waste from natal care, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease in humans or animals.  Examples include:

  • Infectious waste
  • Laboratory cultures
  • Anatomical waste
  • Sharps waste
  • Medicinal waste
  • Laboratory chemicals
  • Offensive/hygiene wastes from wards or other healthcare areas.

This definition also covers wastes produced in non-healthcare environments such as university research and teaching laboratories.

Contact Sarah Burdall in Wellbeing, Safety & Health to arrange for safe collection of this type of waste

I

Ink cartridges

Take these to your nearest collection point. A list of collection points can be obtained from the sustainability website, or by contacting Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk.

IT waste

For computers, see ‘computers in C section’.

If reusable, please make sure all information is wiped and offer onto the reuse@leeds  website. If unsuccessful, or if you are disposing of servers or specialist equipment, contact cleaning services to arrange for a collection. Under no circumstances should computers or associated peripherals be taken for domestic use and/or sold for personal profit.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

J

Junk mail and glossy magazines

Please use the paper recycling bins.

L

Light bulbs

This includes filament, LED or energy-saving bulbs.  These must be treated as hazardous waste.  Contact the Estates HelpDesk to arrange collection.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

Laminated paper and posters

Please use the general waste bins.

M

Metals (i.e. stationery)

If in a reusable condition, offer onto the  reuse@leeds  website. If unsuccessful, use the office metal bins.

Metals (large items)

If this is a complete item and in a reusable condition, offer onto the reuse@leeds website. If not, contact the Estates HelpDesk to arrange collection.

Milk bottles (plastic)

Please use plastic recycling bins.

Milk bottles (glass)

Please use the glass recycling bins.

Mobile phones

Contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk to arrange a collection to ensure that any data is securely wiped so the phone can be reused.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

Magazines and glossy paper

Please use the paper recycling bins.

N

Newspaper

Use the office paper recycling bins. For large quantities contact the Estates HelpDesk to arrange a collection.

P

Padded envelopes (plastic bubble-wrap or paper padding)

Set a box up in your stationery area for reusable envelopes or reuse on the reuse@leeds website. For envelopes not in a reusable condition, put into the office general waste bin.

Paint

This includes old paint tins (including empty).  This should be treated as hazardous waste.  Please contact the Estates HelpDesk to arrange a collection.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of paint or the containers (even if empty) in the main waste stream.

Pallets

When ordering new items ensure that the supplier removes all pallets on delivery or if this is not practical when they are next delivering. This should be agreed with the supplier at the point of purchase. If you have any problems with this service please contact the sustainability service.

Paper (normal, waxy or glossy)

All printouts on campus should be duplex printed where possible. If not, set up a scrap paper box in your stationery area. If duplex printing, use the office paper recycling bins. If you have a large amount of paper contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk to arrange a collection.

Paper (confidential or shredded)

The University has a confidential waste policy. All confidential waste should be placed in blue plastic bags from cleaning services. Do not overfill bags. Contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk to arrange collection.

For shredded waste, use the office paper recycling bins. For large collections, contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk.

Pens

If in a reusable condition, put onto the reuse@leeds service for redistribution around campus. If this is unsuccessful, of if pens are broken or empty we can donate them to charity. Contact the Sustainability Service for a postage label.

Plastics (soft – i.e. cling film, etc.)

Please use plastic recycling bins.

Note: Composite materials such as crisp and sweet wrappers are not recyclable and for this the general waste bins should be used.

Plastics (flexible – i.e. yoghurt pots, etc.)

Reuse wherever possible. If not possible, clean and use the plastic recycling bins.

Plastics (hard – i.e. CD containers, etc.)

Reuse wherever possible. If not possible, use the plastic recycling bins.

Note: Composite materials such as tetra-pak are not recyclable and for this, the general waste bins should be used.

Plastic lab containers

Wash thoroughly and use the office plastic recycling bins.

Polystyrene (cups, etc.)

Reuse where possible.  Otherwise, use the plastic recycling bins

Polystyrene (packaging, etc.)

When ordering new items ensure that the supplier removes all packaging on delivery or when they are next delivering if not practical the first time. This would need to be agreed with the supplier at the point of purchase. If this hasn’t been arranged with the supplier, please contact the Estates Helpdesk to arrange collection

R

Regulators (from gas bottles)

Contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk to arrange for a collection.

Rubber

Reuse where possible.  Otherwise, use the general waste bins

S

Stationery (general)

Reuse where possible or offer onto the reuse@leeds service. If unsuccessful, or if items are broken, use the office recycling bins. See also pens and folders.

Stamps

Set up a box in your stationery area and donate to charity. If you would like more information on how to donate, contact the Sustainability Service.

T

Tea Bags

Please use the food waste bins.

Tetra-pak cartons

Please use the general waste bins

Textiles and clothes

If of a reusable condition, offer onto the reuse@leeds service, or donate to a local charity shop.

Toner cartridges

Take these to your nearest collection point. A list of collection points can be obtained from the sustainability website, or by contacting cleaning services

Toys

If of a reusable condition, offer onto the reuse@leeds  website. Alternatively, donate the items to a local charity.

W

Wires

Contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk to arrange collection.

White goods

If of a reusable condition, offer onto the reuse@leeds  website. If broken, contact Cleaning Services via the Estates HelpDesk to arrange a collection. Under no circumstances should computers or associated peripherals be taken for domestic use and/or sold for personal profit.

Note: It is illegal to dispose of WEEE waste in the main waste stream.

Wood (small items – i.e. spoons, etc.)

If not reusable, use the office food waste bins.

Wood (large items)

If not reusable, contact the Estates HelpDesk to arrange a collection.

Useful contacts

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our recycling work is linked to the following SDGs:

  • Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Goal 12 Responsible consumption and production

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.