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

Our waste & recycling contract with AWM is set up for the majority 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.   Due to the way that the recycling industry works, we need to ensure that our bins contain the correct recyclates.  The text and image below explain exactly what must go into each bin and what can’t go into those bins:

  • 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 recycle plastic types 1, 2 and 4. Please don’t 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 – Most glass is accepted, but please remember not to put Pyrex (microwave dishes, etc.) into this bin.
  • Metals – Most metals are fine in this bin, with the exception of aerosols.  The legislation has changed and these should be disposed of as hazardous waste. Please use the general waste bins for these as we have agreed with AWM to recover them and dispose on our behalf in line with regulatory requirements.
  • Food – Please don’t add compostable cups, dishes, cutlery, etc. including wooden items. Food goes to Anaerobic Digestion rather than to compost, so any non-food material is removed and sent for Waste to Energy Recovery.  Please put compostable materials into the general waste bins.
  • General waste –   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.