Recycling on campus

View the list below for how to dispose of common items. For more information about sustainability visit the WRAP website.

UWE Bristol staff looking for guidance on more unusual and service-specific items should visit our intranet recycling guide (login required).

A to Z of recycling


'Portable' batteries (AA, AAA etc type batteries) can be recycled in the battery recycling containers located at various points across Frenchay Campus, Bower Ashton and Glenside Campus including student accommodation reception areas. All types of portable batteries can be put into these containers, including spent rechargeable and mobile phone batteries. Button cells are also allowed.

Car batteries or larger industrial Lead Acid type batteries are classed as hazardous waste and as such, must not be disposed of in the general waste. If you have these items, please email for a collection. 

Why recycle? 

Batteries contain valuable and potentially harmful heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, zinc and mercury. Recycling these means their value is not lost, and harm to the environment is minimised.

What happens to the batteries?

The batteries are collected by a licensed contractor, and bulked up at their depot. They are then sent for recycling.


If you have an unwanted bike, please donate it whatever the condition. UWE Bristol donates the bikes to local organisations such as Lifecycle and Bristol Bike Project who refurbish bikes for re-use. Contact for more information.


Please take your cans to your nearest internal recycling point.

Yes please

  • Drinks cans
  • Food tins (please remember to rise them out first!)
  • Metal lids
  • Foil

No thank you

  • Pots, pans, knives, other kitchen equipment
  • Batteries
  • Electrical items
  • Bulky items such as clothes airers

Why recycle?

Aluminium and steel drinks and food cans are easily recyclable. Recycling an aluminium can saves enough energy to power a TV for two hours; a steel can recycled would power it for one hour.

What happens to the cans?

The cans and tins are collected along with plastic bottles, tubs and trays, and taken to a depot in Avonmouth where they are bulked up and transported to Treforest and then sorted. They make separate bales of aluminium, steel and plastics which are sent for reprocessing to be recycled into new products.


Cardboard will be collected by the cleaners from offices. Cleaning Services will only collect flattened cardboard boxes. It is important to flatten the boxes so they do not fill up the external bins.

Yes please

  • Small items of card such as ready-meal sleeves can be recycled.
  • Larger items of cardboard such as boxes can be flattened, folded and placed next to the bins.
  • Please make sure there is no non-cardboard inside the boxes.
  • Remove any tape used to secure boxes.

No thanks

  • Tetra Pak’ style food and drinks cartons
  • Disposable/compostable drinks cups and lids

Why recycle?

Cardboard is easily recycled into more cardboard packaging. Recycling one pizza box saves enough energy to power a TV for one and a half hours.

What happens to it?

It is collected by our waste and recycling contractor and taken to their depot in Avonmouth as the first point of call, then on to Treforest where it is baled and sent for recycling at paper mills in the UK and abroad, depending on demand.

Coffee cups

Most of these are not recyclable because they contain a plasticiser to ensure that they do not leak. The cup should be put in the general waste or landfill bins.

Compostable serveware

Compostable serveware cannot currently be recycled and should be disposed of via the general waste bins. Please make sure that it is not put into food waste or other recycling bins as it will contaminate those materials.

Contact lenses and spectacles

UWE Bristol Eye Clinic has a dedicated bin for recycling contact lenses, spectacles and associated items. You don’t need an appointment and the bin is for use by all staff and students. The Eye Clinic can be found in the Blackberry Centre on Glenside Campus.

Yes please

  • Plastic lens glasses (plastic and metal frames accepted)
  • Sunglasses
  • Contact lens
  • Contact lens case and tweezers
  • Contact lens fluid bottles and packets
  • Plastic film
  • Protective eyewear and goggles 

No thanks

  • Glass lens glasses 
  • Glass
  • Medicinal blister packs
  • Medical waste/surgical waste
  • Hazardous waste

Electrical items

Please do not allow any electrical items, fluorescent lamps or light bulbs to go into the general waste bins. Procedures are in place to ensure that we meet our compliance obligations and that waste electrical and electronic items are recycled.

Small, household electrical items that are in working order but no longer required can be donated via the British Heart Foundation donation banks located in the student accommodation areas. UWE Bristol staff wishing to dispose of electrical and electronic equipment should raise a works request with the Logistics Team.

Why recycle

Electrical and electronic items that we no longer need can be repaired or recycled. Recycling items helps to save finite natural resources and also reduces the environmental and health risks associated with disposing of these items incorrectly.

What happens to it?

All of UWE Bristol’s waste electrical equipment is brought to a central waste compound and then collected by a specialist company for sorting and onward recycling.

Items donated via the British Heart Foundation banks will be tested and any usable items will be sold in their shops.


Please contact and we will assess them for re-use.

Food waste

UWE Bristol staff kitchens have food waste collection caddies which cleaners regularly empty and wash. Any types of food waste – cooked or uncooked – can be placed in the caddies for composting. If you need a collection set up in your staff area, please email

Student halls also have food waste collection caddies – students take this food waste to the allocated bins within the accommodation bin stores. If you need a caddy for your flat please ask a warden or in reception.

Why recycle?

Recycling your food waste allows nutrients and energy to be retained and utilised. Recycling is much better for the environment than sending it for incineration, although preventing food waste in the first place is the best option. Reducing food waste is good for your pocket and for the planet. If global food waste were a country, it would be third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Around 200 tonnes of food waste is thrown away at UWE Bristol each year, from catering outlets, halls of residence and staff kitchens. Much of this could be avoided through more conscious planning, storage and preparation. View more information and top tips for reducing your food waste on the 'Love Food Hate Waste' website.

What happens to it?

Food waste is sent to Biogen, where it is used to generate electricity and biomethane gas, which provides energy to the national grid. The remnants from the process are used as fertiliser.


UWE Bristol recycles glass from its halls of residences, bars, most cafés and staff kitchens.

If you need a glass bin for your staff kitchen or the bin requires emptying, please email

Yes please

  • All glass bottles and jars of any colour

No thank you

  • Toughened glass such as ‘pyrex’ bowls and dishes
  • Drinking glasses
  • Spectacles
  • Mirrors or window glass
  • Broken glass (see disposal below)

Disposing of broken glass

Never put broken glass directly into a waste bin - think safety.

  • If there is a large amount of broken glass - a window or similar, then contact Facilities Service desk at: or tel: +44 (0)117 32 81222 (internal ext 222), do not attempt to dispose of the broken glass yourself.
  • If you have a broken glass, coffee jar etc to dispose of in your office, think about your own safety as well as the safety of others.
  • Carefully wrap the broken glass in several layers of paper or newspaper and tape it securely.
  • Place this into an appropriate box and clearly label it as broken glass.
  • Place the box into a general waste bin making sure you are certain that you have not left a hazard for the cleaners or other staff.

Why recycle?

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be used again and again. One recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.

What happens to it?

Glass is bulked up in Avonmouth and then collected by a glass processing company, depending on the grade it will either be turned back into glass or crushed into a fine powder and used in aggregate mainly in floor surfaces such as roads.

Non-recyclable waste

Any waste that cannot be recycled should be placed in the general waste bin. Examples of items that we cannot currently recycle at UWE Bristol include:

  • disposable or compostable drinks cups, lids and other take away packaging
  • plastic film, plastic bags, bubble wrap
  • polystyrene packaging and takeaway containers
  • black plastic
  • sweet wrappers and crisp packets


You can take most types of paper to your nearest internal recycling point for disposal.

Remember to think before you print.

Yes please

  •  Envelopes
  • All office paper
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Books - but only one or two per bin because of the weight (and better yet, sell or donate them if they still useable!)

No thanks

  • Laminated paper 
  • Tissues, kitchen roll, hand towels or blue roll

Why recycle?

Recycling newsprint and office paper saves trees. It has been estimated that recycling half the world’s paper would avoid the harvesting of 20 million acres (81,000 km²) of forest land. Energy consumption is also reduced by recycling – a 40-60% reduction in energy when paper is recycled versus paper made with virgin pulp.

What happens to it?

It is collected by our waste and recycling contractor and taken to their depot in Avonmouth as the first point of call, then on to Treforest where it is baled and sent for recycling at paper mills in the UK and abroad, depending on demand.


All types of plastic bottles and some forms of other plastic packaging can be recycled at UWE Bristol.

Take your plastics to your nearest internal recycling point.

Yes please

  • Plastic bottles of all types
  • Pots, tubs and trays such as yoghurt pots and margarine tubs  

No thanks

  • Disposable/compostable drinks cups and lids
  • Cling film and sandwich bags
  • Carrier bags
  • Polystyrene
  • Bubble wrap
  • Black plastic

Why recycle?

Plastics recycling means the plastic polymers that they are made from can be used to make new products and prevents further extraction of raw materials. All sorts of amazing products can be made from recycled plastics, including fleece jackets. It takes just 25x2 litre bottles to make one adult size fleece jacket.

What happens to it?

Plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays are collected along with food and drinks cans and taken to a depot in Avonmouth where they are bulked up and transported to Treforest and then sorted. Plastics are separated into their various grades and moved onto a processor here in the UK where possible depending on market requirements.


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