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This A to Z of recycling aims to explain where all common items can be recycled at the University. If you are searching for an item which isn't listed, spot anything which is out of date, or if you know of a disposal route for an item that we haven't listed, get in touch.

Two things to remember:

  • Before you dispose of anything, think about whether it's still usable - can you post it on the WarpIt portal for others to claim? Or could you donate any interesting and unusual items suitable for arts and crafts to Cambridge Community Scrapstore? There are more ideas for reducing and reusing the waste you produce on our guidance pages.
  • All waste collections should follow the waste duty of care. This includes ensuring that waste is stored and disposed of safely and legally, and that any waste contractor you use is registered. Contact the environment team if you have any queries about compliance with the duty of care. Note that there are also specific requirements around temporary storage of recyclable waste at collection points by or for charities.

Note: Elements of this waste A-Z may not apply to departments whose waste management is not overseen by the University, for instance those embedded in NHS buildings at Addenbookes.



Aerosols - Empty aerosol cans are classed as hazardous waste. Contact for details on disposal.

Air filters - Most air filters are classed as hazardous waste. Contact for details on disposal.

Aluminium cans - Use the mixed recycling bins.

Aluminium foil - Use the general waste bins

Asbestos - If you suspect that you have asbestos to dispose of please contact the Estate Management Helpdesk (ext.37784).


Batteries - Wherever possible, the best option for batteries is to minimise disposal by purchasing rechargable options which may cost more to buy, but can be used again and again. If disposal is required, batteries can be collected by the University's e-waste contractor, CDL - visit the e-waste collection page for details of how to request a collection. Batteries are classified as hazardous waste, so make sure you store them safely and correctly or they cannot be collected - CDL have produced this guidance on how to store batteries. If you do not have a suitable collection containers, these are available to loan from CDL, please request these using the form at the e-waste collection link above.

Please note that the battery collection point at Laundry Farm is no longer available for use. Please do not drop batteries off or send them in the UMS to this location.

Bicycles - Unwanted bikes can be donated to OWL bikes, who accept donations and provide vocational training for disabled and disadvantaged people. It recycles and refurbishes unwanted bikes to sell to the public at reasonable prices. Another similar option is Re-Cycle

Books - Books, including older edition textbooks can be donated to READ International in the book bin on the Sidgwick Site: have a look for the marked-up collection point by the back of the Buttery Café. You can also contact Better World BooksBook Rescuers or Book Harvest about setting up a collection in your department, or there are a number of other apps and websites which will collect or even pay for old books. Books can of course also be donated to local charity shops. As a last resort, books can be recycled in the mixed recycling bins. See the map for details of colection points available to University staff and students.

Bottles (chemicals and solvent) - The best option is to see if your supplier will take empty bottles, several suppliers will take empty Winchesters back free of charge for reuse/recycling, so it's worth asking your supplier first. Otherwise, if they are empty and free of contamination and the labels removed or defaced, then these can be recycled through the glass recycling bins available on most sites.

Bottles (plastic) - The best option for bottles is not to use them at all! Try to opt for reusable bottles for personal use, while catering for meetings should ideally use tap water in glasses and jugs rather than bottled water. Otherwise, use the mixed recycling bins for plastic bottles.

Brochures - Ideally, unsubscribe from unwanted brochures and magazines or ask your supplier if they supply digital versions. Otherwise paper brochures can go into the mixed recycling bins.

Bubble wrap - This can be recycled, however jiffy bags/padded envelopes (which are mixed plastic and paper) cannot.


Cans - Ideally, staff and students should be encouraged to use reusable drinks bottles and cups rather than disposable cans. However if these are used, they should go in the mixed recycling bins.

Cardboard - Use the mixed recycling bins. Please flatten any boxes to make room for all the rest of the recycling! Cardboard is one of the top items by weight which is found in the University's waste with an estimated 87 tonnes generated every year, or roughly 15 boxes per staff members! So please consider where your cardboard waste is coming from. Do suppliers send you excess packaging with deliveries? If so, contact them to ask if they can use less. Alternatively, look to consolidate orders with other departments, or order in bulk. Reducing the amount of items you order will also help avod packaging, this could be by making use of WarpIt 'wishlists' to check for internal sources of items before buying new. Practicing effective stock control to ensure use of existing stock and minimise wastage is another key way that this waste stream can be reduced.

Carrier bags - Use the mixed recycling bins.

CDs - see Media

Chemicals - See our separate page on hazardous waste. This is also applicable to all water treatment chemicals and drums, including all biocides and water conditioning chemicals used for the control of legionella and other bacteria and similar water and air conditioning residues.

Cleaning materials - Cleaning materials can be a big source of waste. Reusable or refillable options can help to reduce the amount of waste generated, while sensible and restrained use of cleaning products can cut down on the volumes used. See this example from the University Library, who switched to more eco-friendly options.

Cling film - Cling film can be disposed of in general waste bins.

Clinical waste - If a contract is not in place within your department or institute, please contact the School of Clinical Medicine or School of Biological Sciences Safety Officer. Read more.

Coffee capsules - Many types of coffee machine now use 'capsules'. These can generate a lot of single-use waste, and are typically not recyclable! However, check with your supplier as some, for instance Nespresso, offer a dedicated collection or recycling service. The better option is to opt for a 'bean to cup' machine, which can be more expensive to buy, but generates less waste. The next best option is to opt for a reusable capsule for your capsule machine. A number of options are available including metal and plastic ones. Feedback from University staff who have tried these is that those who have used/do use metal capsules find that they get very hot and so need to be left quite some time before they can be removed and cleaned. Those who have used plastic re-usable capsules gave more positive feedback. Also bear in mind that reusable capsules do need cleaning, however it's as easy to clean 10 as it is to clean one, so having a small stock available would be most efficient. Finally, users of re-usable capsules have said they had issues finding coffee of the right grind, that ‘brews’ fast enough to give a good (i.e. strong enough) cup of coffee. This can mean needing to try different types of coffee, or some have preferred to grind their own beans as the best, and cheapest low-packaging method!

Coffee cups - Paper coffee cups can be placed in mixed recycling bins but only if they are comprised 100% of paper. Most paper cups are often plastic-lined, and therefore need to be disposed of to General Waste, particularly if contaminated with liquids. Plastic cups can sometimes be recycled, but are often made from polystyrene or expanded polystyrene, which can't be recycled. For Vegware cups, see Compostable Packaging.

Contact your supplier to opt for paper-only or plastic-only cups, Vegware, or alternatively encourage the use of KeepCups by staff.

Cold packs / freezer packs  - Some departments are sent these with orders which need to be kept cold. The best option is to reuse these, but if you have too many you could try advertising them on WarpIt for other departments/users. Alternatively see if you can engage with your supplier to engage in some form of ‘take back’ scheme - many suppliers are beginning to offer these for different types of packaging. If the packs need to be disposed of, check what they are made of. The most common reusable cold packs have a blue gel contained in a sealed bag. According to the 3M Reusable Cold Packs Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), these noncombustible ingredients are primarily water (60 to 70 per cent), propylene glycol (20 to 35 per cent) and sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (less than 5 per cent), with a polypropylene cover. These substances are all relatively harmless, however be sure to check with the manufacturer about contents, and check with the Safety office before pouring these down drains. Once these are empty, soft plastic covers are likely to be recyclable via the mixed recycling bins, hard plastic covers are unlikely to be recyclable and should go in the general waste bins. If it is contaminated with the liquid or contains any 'mixed materials', place it in the general waste bins. Of course, if it is contaminated with hazardous, biological or chemical substances be sure to dispose of it using the appropriate disposal route. 

Compostable packaging  (e.g. Vegware) - The University currently sends food waste to anaerobic digestion. While a small amount of compostable packaging can be accepted at the anaerobic digestion plant, it is likely to be separated and sent for energy-from-waste incineration rather than composting. Compostable packaging like plates, cutlery and cups can be a better option than the usual plastic-lined paper items (which can't easily be recycled so should go in the General Waste bins), however they should only go into the food waste bins in relatively small amounts. The best option is not to produce disposable items at all - where possible opt for reusable and washable items like crockery or tupperware.

Computer equipment - Usable but unwanted electronic devices can be advertised to others at the University via WARPit. All waste electrical and electronic equipment must be arranged through the University’s recognised contractor. This service is free for all departments. It is illegal for the University to send waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) direct to landfill; it should be stored and collected separately to enable reuse and recovery of materials. Read more about the process for requesting an IT disposal collection.

Confidential waste - Facilities Management ( offer a recycling route for confidential paper, however some departments opt to use their own suppliers - if your department does so, you must ensure that you are complying with the waste duty of care

Construction waste - Materials in this category would include hardcore, soil, stone and glass. All contractors are required to remove their own waste from sites. Recyclable inert waste produced by a department should be taken to reclamation yards, builders' merchants or architectural salvage companies, for example Solopark Plc in Pampisford. Should this not be possible, the waste should be removed by a licensed contractor. Your EM Project Manager should have more information on conforming to regulations (such as around Site Waste Management Plans).

Crisp packets - These are one of the most common items that you'll find in day-to-day office waste which are not recyclable! As they are mixed materials (plastic and foil) which can't easily be separated, they must go to General Waste bins. 

Please note, we no longer accept empty crisp packets to recycle as TerraCycle has stopped “The Crisp Packet Recycling Scheme” with Walkers because of the increasing recycling points at supermarkets across the nation.

Find your local recycling facility for plastic packaging and type of packaging waste acceptable here Plastic bags and wrapping | Recycle Now 

Crockery - If it is still in reusable condition, why not put it on WarpIt, or donate to a local charity shop. Otherwise this goes in the general waste bins.


Discs - see Media

Drink cans - Use the mixed recycling bins.


Electrical appliances - Usable but unwanted electronic devices can be advertised to others at the University via WARPit. All waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) must be arranged through the University’s recognised contractor. This service is free for all departments. It is illegal for the University to send waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) direct to landfill; it should be stored and collected separately to enable reuse and recovery of materials. Read more about the process for requesting a WEEE disposal collection.

Envelopes - Envelopes should ideally be reused for sending internal mail (simply set up a collection point for used enveloped and let staff know where it is). Alternatively, paper envelopes should be placed in the dry mixed recycling bins. Windowed envelopes can also go in the Dry Mixed Recycling.

Equipment - See Lab Equipment


First Aid equipment - A charity called intercare can accept healthcare goods, however if dated these must have six months to expiry date. A simple registration form needs to be filled out before sending goods onto the organisation by post. A link to this form as well as the list of accepted good is available via this link.

Fluorescent tubes - Fluorescent tubes and spent UV, mercury and sodium lamps are classified as hazardous waste. Redundant lamps should only be disposed of via the University’s official route. Collection stills and points are available on most sites. Please contact Facilities Management ( for details or to arrange collection, specifying the approximate quantity. Alternatively, view the map locations of fluorescent tube collection points available to University staff.

Foil - Tin foil or aluminium foil should go into general waste.

Food - The University currently collects food waste (including tea bags or coffee grinds) on some sites. This currently goes to anaerobic digestion. To enquire about setting up a food waste collection in your department, contact Facilities Management (

Fridges / Freezers - see Electrical appliances. Please ensure any decontamination procedures for non-domestic use items have been carried out and the appropriate HSO form attached directly to the appliance.

Furniture - Advertise any items that could go to another home internally before disposing of them: see the WARPit Website (Cambridge access only) for item transfer between departments. As a last resort good quality furniture, in a usable condition, can potentially be collected and stored until needed for further use. Contact Facilities Management ( to arrange collection of the equipment, specifying the approximate quantity. Furniture that is beyond repair should not be put into trade bins, they should be disposed of by skip - Facilities Management are also able to help arrange skip hire. Please note that waste produced by University departments is designated ‘trade waste’ and therefore can’t be disposed of at household waste and recycling centres, e.g. Milton. Another option for furniture is to repair and refurbish it, or donate it for reuse elsewhere. For large amounts of furniture, such as from office moves and clearances, the Environment and Energy Section can provide support with finding companies who can offer a service to collect and reuse or recycle furniture. For smaller amounts, a quick internet search shows that there are many office furniture suppliers and charity shops in and around Cambridge, some of which will collect from the University. A few examples are Emmaus, BHF and CharityLifeline, each of which you can contact with details of your furniture for donation, and request a collection. Always apply common sense in ensuring that organisations removing waste from your premises are reputable and provide appropriate paperwork, as the University has a duty of care to ensure our waste is not flytipped. Please also ensure that when assets are disposed of, your department's procedures for asset disposal are followed, particularly for items of a high value.


General waste - Material that cannot in any way be reused, recycled or designated for recovery processes, and that is not hazardous, should be deposited in general waste bins (and subsequently the General Waste 1100 litre Eurobins) for collection by Mick George ltd, the University's main waste contractor. General waste undergoes a sorting procedure, with any non-recyclable materials incinerated to generate energy.

Glass - Glass should not go into the mixed recycling bins. Dedicated glass recycling bins are available on most sites and can be requested from Facilities Management.

Gloves - Some suppliers will offer a recycling option for disposable gloves, such as those used in laboratories. One example is the Kimberley-Clark PPE recycling scheme (read the case study here). Another is Terracycle's Spontex recycling scheme. If setting up a recycling glove scheme, be sure to carefully consider and review the activities where gloves are in use, and to only collect gloves from those work areas where there is absolutely no risk of glove contamination occurring.


Hazardous waste - There are a number of contracts in place for the disposal of hazardous waste. For further details please contact the Health and Safety Office, or view our additional information page on hazardous wastes.


Ice packs - See Cold Packs

Ink cartridges - See Printer cartridges

IT equipment - See Computer equipment



Lab equipment (misc.) - Equipment that is no longer of use to a department that has not been classified as hazardous by the nature of its use, and does not contravene current fire regulations, should be offered to other University departments (see the WARPit webpage). Alternatively, the University's Equipment Sharing Project provides a way to share under-used equipment. For unused, obsolete or even broken equipment taking up valuable lab space, UniGreenScheme offers a removal and resale service. They work directly with you to collect, store and sell your unwanted equipment and return a share of the profits. It's a flexible service, ranging from one or two pieces of equipment through to full lab clearances. The Science Exchange will also pay for redundant non-radioactive laboratory equipment that remains functional. To Dispose of old, broken electrical equipment you will need to go down the WEEE (Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment) route.

Landfill - See General waste. The current main waste contract across the University aims for zero non-hazardous waste to landfill.

Lightbulbs - There are different types of lighting, and each should be disposed of differently. Fluorescent lighting (glass tubes and compact fluorescent lamps) contain mercury and should be disposed of as hazardous waste. The majority of University sites have a coffin box for these bulbs (check the University map), which University departments and institutes can dispose of these bulbs in. They are then collected by the University's main waste contractor - contact Facilities Management with queries about these disposals. Filament bulbs (old-fashioned glass bulbs) shuold be disposed of to the general waste bins, ideally wrapped in something that will prevent cuts to waste operatives in the event of breakage. LED lights are electronic waste and should be disposed of using the e-Waste disposal service.


Magazines and catalogues - Use the mixed recycling bins. If you're generating large volumes, consider contacting magazine and catalogue mailers asking them if they have an online version, or to opt-out from unwanted subscriptions.

Media (audio tapes, video tapes, CDs, DVDs) - The Environment and Energy Section does not have a specific system in place to deal with these wastes. For a charge to departments, confidential media may be able to be shredded or degaussed on-site through the Electrical appliances (WEEE) collection and recycling contract. If no other reuse or recycling route is available, these should go into the general waste bins.

Metal - Small-scale metals recycling can be carried out through the mixed recycling contract. A skip can be arranged to dispose of large amounts of metal: please contact Facilities Management ( to make arrangements.

Be wary of operations offering to take scrap metal for free - while they may be legitimate, check our Duty Of Care guidance for legal issues you should be aware of. 

Mobile phones - The University's e-waste contractor can accept mobile phones for recycling - see our e-waste form page for details of how to request a collection. A number of charity operators will also collect defunct mobile phones, one example being Recycle4Charity.


Newspaper - Please use the mixed recycling bins.


Oil - This should be taken off site by the oil supplier. Waste engine and machinery oil, or waste fuel oil, produced by the University is hazardous waste, and should be stored carefully in accordance with relevant legislation, and disposed of by contacting the University Safety Office.

Oily rags, oil drums and other oil-contaminated items: These are also classed as hazardous and should be treated as above.


Packaging - Packaging can be made of many materials. Most plastic and paper packaging can be put into mixed recycling bins. Polystyrene is not widely recyclable so should be put into the general waste bins. One of the best options for packaging is to engage with suppliers to see if they offer a 'take back' scheme for packaging. For packaging of hazardous and chemical materials, there is guidance available on whether to classify this as hazardous or whether it can be disposed of through normal routes.

Paint - Community RePaint is an award-winning national initiative to prevent usable paints being needlessly landfilled and instead redistributed to those who need it most. To date there are over 60 schemes running across the United Kingdom. Our nearest scheme is in March. They do not accept paint thinners or strippers, varnishes, woodstains or specialist paints. Paint 360 are another option to consider. Another organisation who may take unwanted paint is Cambridge Community Scrapstore.

Due to the flammability of some oil-based paints if in liquid form, they may be hazardous waste and so should be disposed of as chemical waste. Please ensure that containers are tightly sealed.

For ease of disposal please ensure water-based and oil-based paint wastes are kept separate from each other. Unless otherwise labelled, water-based paints are unlikely to be hazardous, and should be reused wherever possible. If in doubt always check the paint's label for hazard information. All empty containers or containers with dried water-based paint inside should be disposed of as general waste.

Paint tins - If packaging has previously contained hazardous material, such as a paint tin or oil drum, they should always be disposed of as a hazardous material. If they are cleaned thoroughly then they can be disposed of as non-hazardous, but the wash-water must be disposed of as hazardous.

Pallets - Pallet recycling is available on some sites at the University, including on the Downing site where a dedicated pallet skip is located adjacent to the exit gate opposite Fitzwilliam Street. Email for details on other pallet recycling locations.

Paper - Use the mixed recycling bins or confidential paper bins. Alternatively, note that some suppliers will collect paper free of charge if it is segregated into separate containers. Uncontaminated paper can be recycled easily and is therefore relatively valuable. One example is the University Library who have used DS Smith for dedicated paper waste collections. When using any waste contractor, always be sure to follow the waste duty of care. Try to ensure that you use recycled or sustainably-sourced paper in the first place (more guidance on things to consider when buying paper are on the Procurement pages, but in general opt for paper with recycled content, lower GSM, and chlorine-free), as this cuts down significantly on its environmental impact! Also consider if there is any way you can reduce your paper use, by ensuring double-sided printing is the default, encouraging staff to 'think before you print', switching to online handouts for meetings and lectures, or switching to 'paperless' processes and software for any processes which generate a large amount of paper. Many University departments have saved hundreds of sheets of paper, as well as significant staff time, by switching to paperless processes for purposes like application forms, invoices and records.

Another option for disposal of good-quality paper is Cambridge Community Scrapstore, who re-distribute suitable paper to schools and craft groups.

Paper towels - Paper towels and tissue paper, used or unused, wet or dry should go into the general waste bin as it is not high quality enough to be recycled and can clog up recycling machinery. (At home, most councils ask for tissue paper to go directly into your compost/green bin). Paper towels are one of the top single-use items disposed of by the University, with 22 tonnes a year being disposed of - that works out at around 4 sheets per staff member per day, and is around 264 trees worth of paper! There is mounting evidence that using paper towels has a greater environmental impact than using hand dryers, particularly heated dryers. As more efficient electric hand dryers become available, and as carbon emissions from the UK’s (and University’s) electricity usage is reducing over time, the balance has shifted to paper towels having a greater impact on the environment. If hand dryers can't be used, reduce impact of paper towels by opting for those with a high recycled content, ideally 100% recycled. If that's unavailable, opt for FSC certified paper. Another option is to consider encouraging reductions in use by putting a friendly notice or awareness-raising sign encouraging others to cut down on usage of paper towels, near to where they are used.

Pens - You can recycle these through Terracycle's 'Writing Instruments Recycling Programme', a free recycling programme for most writing instruments (except wooden pencils and crayons). The scheme also acts as a fundraising opportunity for participants. The University Counselling Service's Green Impact team are undertaking a collection for Centre 33, a charity providing free counselling to young people locally, and hope to collect bulk amounts including from other departments at the University. Send your collected bundles of writing implements to the Green Impact Team at the Counselling Service via the UMS, and why not download the poster to advertise the collection in your department? Alternatively several collection points are available around the University - see the map for details.

Pesticides - All unused pesticides, diluted pesticides, sprayer washings and empty containers are classed as hazardous chemical waste and should be disposed of by contacting the University Chemical Safety Adviser. Minimise the amount of waste pesticide produced by prior estimation of the quantities of pesticide required. Contact the supplier to see if they will take back empty containers, otherwise thoroughly rinse out the containers and dispose of them as hazardous chemical waste.

Photographic material - Photographic processing involves the generation of a range of chemical wastes. These should be disposed of as chemical waste.

Pipette racks, refill wafers, and shells - See Plastic (below)

Plastic - Use the mixed recycling bins for hard plastics (bottles, tubs, trays etc), but not plastic wraps or 'mixed materials' (for instance paper and plastic or metal and plastic). Not all plastics can be recovered for recycling by our main waste contractor, so a better option is to seek ways to minimise your plastic use, switch to reusable alternatives, or enquire with your supplier to minimise the amount of plastic associated with deliveries or packaging. Some suppliers will offer 'take back' schemes, examples include:

  • Pipette tip wafers and racks - Departments who use disposable pipette tips have the opportunity to recycle the plastic wafers and racks that come with the packaging, if not doing so already. The tip and wafers are ground down into polypropylene pellets and used again. For details of one recycling option, please see STARLAB UK, which can provide collection containers and arrange free collections. A poster detailing the scheme, along with a label to be used on bins is also available. 
  • Expanded polystyrene boxes - New England Biolabs are one supplier who offer free return labels for these.
  • Coffee pods - Nespresso are one company who offer 'take back' collections for coffee machine pods.
  • Pens - Terracycle run a pen collection initiative (see 'Pens')
  • Crisp packets and snack wrappers - See Crisp packets.  
  • Nitrile gloves - Kimberley Clark offer a take-back recycling scheme, contact the Environment & Energy Section for more details.

Plastic bags / wrapping - Use the general waste bins.

Plastic bottles - Use the mixed recycling bins.

Polystyrene and other packaging - Where possible, use the mixed dry recycling bins for packaging materials. Expanded polystyrene must currently go to the general waste bins. Where you believe packaging to be excessive, try to discuss possible reductions and re-use possibilities with suppliers. As one example, New England Biolabs offer a return label within their polystyrene boxes, and other suppliers may offer this as well. Procurement Services are able to offer further suggestions ( Some departments have asked suppliers to switch to packing made from corn starch, which can be composted. The Hutchison/MRC Research Centre has invested in a thermal compaction machine to reduce the volume of its polystyrene, after which it is taken away by a supplier for free, who recycles it into new products. 

Post-it (adhesive) notes - See paper. These should go into the mixed recycling bins. According to 3M (one manufacturer of adhesive notes), the glues in these are broken down under normal paper de-inking processes used by most recyclers, so these are fine to be recycled with other papers.

PPE (Covid-19 related) - PPE used in labs and subject to an existing risk assessment should be disposed of as already identified. Any extra PPE used for Covid-19 purposes should be disposed of (in a non clinical setting) as general, domestic waste. The exception is if there is a suspected infection case, in which case it should be double-bagged and isolated for 72 hours. Please check the latest government guidance for full details.

Printer cartridges - Many printer manufacturers offer a free return service, for instance HP Planet PartnersRicoh Return, Epson CCRP and Konica Minolta consumable recycling - it's worth checking whether your printer or photocopier maker has a similar scheme in place. These are particularly useful for inkjet cartridge recycling, as these tend to be more expensive for recycling. Alternatively, the University's e-waste contractor can accept toner cartridges - please visit the collection form page for more details on how to request an e-waste collection. There are also a number of companies and charities which will collect empty laser, inkjet and photocopier cartridges and either make a payment to the University or a charity that can be found with a quick internet search, for example TakeBack and Recycle4CharityPlease ensure that when using any new waste contractors you comply with your waste duty of care requirements, in particular checking whether they are a licensed waste operator.


Refurbishment waste - If you have a building clearance, decant, refurbishment or decommissioning project coming up, WarpIt can come in catalogue and add the assets to the University's Warp It system. If required, they can also then manage the redistribution of the surplus assets internally (if appropriate) and then externally on your behalf.

Rubber bands - These should go into the general waste bins.


Sandwich boxes (windowed) - These can only be recycled if clean, i.e. there is no food residue in or on them, in which case they can go into the dry mixed recycling.

Shredded paper - See Paper

Stamps - A number of charities will accept used postage stamps, which can be used to help raise funds for charity activities. Two examples of charities who run stamp collections are the the Bone Cancer Research Trust, Kidney Care and Canine Partners.

Stamp pads - Ideally, stamp pads should be re-inked or refilled. If this isn't possible, put these into the general waste bins. 

Stationery - Disposal depends on what the item is made from. If stationery is still usable but unwanted, try advertising it on WarpIt. The best way to minimise stationery waste is to minimise the amounts that are produced in the first place! Careful stock control and ordering will help reduce waste, while 'stationery amnesties' can encourage staff to return unused stationery that may have accumulated in desk-drawers back to a central point.


Telephone directories - Shred personal data and then use the mixed recycling bins. (This disposal method was advised by the University's Data Protection Officer in September 2013.)

Tetrapack - While these can be recycled in your recycling bin at home, unfortunately they cannot be recycled in University offices as they are made from mixed materials which can't easily be separated out by our waste contractor. More information on Tetrapack recycling can be found at

Textiles - Where these are usable, donate them to charity, for instance via your nearest BHF collection bin. For anything beyond repair, this should go into general waste skips only. 

Tissue paper - See Paper towels

Toner cartridges - See Printer cartridges


Vegware - Vegware is a compostible packaging found in all University-run cafes. Vegware should only be put in the food waste bins which are provided in each of the cafes. If you take Vegware out of the cafes and don't have a composting bin available, it should go into the general waste bins. For more information see also Compostable Packaging.


WEEE - See Electrical appliances

White goods - See Electrical appliances

Wipes - Most wipes are not recyclable, (and should also not be disposed of in toilets, as they cause blockages!), so should go into General Waste bins. Some compostable options are available (one University department has used 'Bio-pure alcohol wipes' available on the UFS). The best option is to provide reusable options - one University department has set up self-cleaning stations. They provide spray bottles of C2 and microfibre cloths for staff/students. They provide a bag for used cloths and change them regularly, with the cloths getting washed overnight.

Wood - A skip can be arranged to dispose of large amounts of wood. Please contact Facilities Management ( Small amounts of wood (including things like pencil sharpener shavings) go in general waste bins. Wooden pallet skips are also available to university staff, at these locations.

Wooden stirrers – Use the general waste bins.

Wrapping - See Plastic bags / wrapping.

Writing instruments - See Pens


X-ray film - X-ray film tends to be mostly plastic, however is likely to have quite a lot of contaminants that our waste contractor wouldn’t want mixed up in their plastic recycling stream (as a rule, anything which is ‘mixed materials’, such as crisp packets which are metallised plastic, can’t be easily recycled). Therefore these should go in the general waste/landfill bins. However note that that there are a number of companies which can offer a dedicated recycling service for this waste stream, and as the films contain silver, some may offer a recycling rebate. A search on the web will show up a number of suppliers who may be able to help dispose of these in a more environmentally friendly way. One department at the University has opted to post their used x-ray films to this supplier who will dispose of x-ray film at no charge.