A to Z of disposal and recycling at UWE Bristol

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

A to Z of recycling


Why recycle?

Aerosols need to be managed separately to general waste because of potentially harmful residues, but this also means the metals can be recovered to be used again in other metal products.

Recycling one aluminium aerosol saves enough energy to power a light bulb for 12 hours.


  • Please do not put aerosols in the general waste bins or skips as they are classed as a hazardous waste. Even if the aerosol container is empty it is still likely to be a hazardous waste because of the residue.
  • Box up the aerosols and clearly label the box as "Aerosols."
  • Email waste@uwe.ac.uk who will arrange collection of the box and dispose of it appropriately.

What happens to them?

The aerosol containers will be sent away to be recycled.


If you suspect that you have asbestos, contact Estates as soon as possible on +44 (0)117 32 81222.


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.

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 waste@uwe.ac.uk for a collection.

Other 'portable' batteries (AA, AAA etc type batteries) can be recycled in the battery recycling containers located at various points across the four main sites. All types of portable batteries can be put into these containers, including spent rechargeable and mobile phone batteries. Button cells are also allowed.

As a safety precaution, the points on the batteries should have a small piece of tape attached to cover them and prevent the small risk of a spark should two batteries short each other.

Portable battery recycling points include:

Frenchay Campus

  • Main Reception
  • 2Q1
  • 3rd Floor of Bolland Library
  • CSCT reception
  • Wallscourt House, lobby area
  • Business School Reception
  • Building 650 lower floor 
  • 0K1
  • 3F1, Students' Union
  • Student Village Cotswold and Mendip receptions.

Glenside Campus

  • Library
  • 0G1

Bower Ashton Campus

  • 1B2

What happens to them?

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 works with a Bristol charity Lifecycle who refurbish bikes for re-use. Contact Robert.cox@uwe.ac.uk for more information.


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.

At UWE Bristol you can recycle all types of cans and tins. Please take your cans and tins to your nearest internal recycling point. If you are recycling food tins, please rinse them out first. Foil can also be recycled along with the cans.

What happens to them?

The cans and tins are collected along with plastic bottles, tubs and trays, and taken to a depot in Avonmouth where they are mechanically separated. The depot makes bales of aluminium, steel and plastic and these are sent to reprocessing factories to be recycled into other products.


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.

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 and cages.

  • Please flatten boxes ready for collection. Leave the flattened boxes alongside communal recycling bins.
  • Please make sure there is no non-cardboard inside the boxes.
  • The tape used to secure boxes can be left on.

What happens to it?

A contractor collects it directly from large wheeled bins and they take it to their depot for baling and onwards to be recycled into more cardboard boxes.

CDs and DVDs

If your discs are non-confidential, send them in the internal mail to: Waste and recycling, T Block, Facilities compound, Frenchay Campus.

If your discs contain confidential information, obtain a confidential waste sack from cleaning@uwe.ac.uk. Fill it (but do not mix with confidential papers), then label as ‘media for destruction’ and request a collection by emailing waste@uwe.ac.uk.



Stringent legislation surrounds the safe handling and disposal of hazardous waste, such as waste oils, acids, and many other chemicals.

Please ensure that chemicals are not placed in the general waste or down the drain, unless this is clearly indicated as acceptable on the Materials Safety Date Sheet. Most chemicals are classed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of appropriately.

If you work in the Department of Applied Sciences, please email Michelle Hickman michelle.hickman@uwe.ac.uk.

For other staff, please email Jennifer.fawcett-thorne@uwe.ac.uk, who will arrange for the safe disposal of hazardous chemicals. The cost of disposal will be recharged to faculties/services.

What happens to them?

Chemicals are either safely recovered in specialist facilities or disposed of as hazardous waste.

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.

Computer kit (PCs, laptops, monitors, tablets and related items)

Secure recycling and reuse

Much of UWE Bristol’s redundant computer kit still has value. It is sent to a specialist contractor who securely wipes data on the hard drives. Items are then reused in whole or part form, benefiting the economy and the environment.

Please see the equipment disposal guide (staff login required) to arrange the removal of redundant computer equipment.

What happens to it?

All computer equipment is stored securely before being sent for data eradication and reuse/recycling.

Confidential waste


Consoles will be emptied by the confidential waste contractor on a set frequency.

For a collection of full confidential waste sacks, please put a request through the facilities online request form and they will be collected within five working days. It is the responsibility of each faculty or service to store their own confidential waste securely before it is collected, for example, in a locked cupboard. Confidential waste sacks should never be left unsecured and unattended at any time.

  • Please fill the sacks with paper only - no files, folders or plastic sleeves. If you have confidential material like this, please email Jennifer.fawcett-thorne@uwe.ac.uk.
  • Do not overfill the sacks – they become very heavy when full.

What happens to it?

Sacks of confidential waste are taken to a secure locked area. the confidential waste contractor collects the material from the secure area. It is then taken away for shredding and recycling.

Confidential waste must be disposed of via the secure confidential waste consoles. One off collections for excess confidential waste or clear outs can be arranged either directly from a secure area or by requesting the designated confidential waste sacks, from cleaning services.

Crisp packets

You can now recycle empty crisp packets at the following locations on UWE Bristol campuses:


D Block

Library entrance


F Block

Students' Union Shop


F Block



R Block

Outside Costa


U Block

Students' Union Shop


X Block

Atrium Café


Northavon House

Outside Baristas


Centre for Sport



Building 640



C Block

Outside 2C023


H Block

The Hub


F Block

Staff Room (1F030B)

Bower Ashton

A Block

Student Union

Bower Ashton

F Block

Staff Room (0F007)

Crisp packets are packaged up by the Waste Team and posted to Terracycle where we receive 100 points for each kilogram of crisp packets recycled. These points can then be redeemed in order to make a donation to our chosen charity: WasteAid UK.

Electrical items

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.

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

To arrange a collection of waste electrical and electronic items, please email Operations and Security at operationsandsecurity@uwe.ac.uk or contact logistics through the intranet Facilities request page.

If you need a light changing and/or for the collection of any spent lamps you may already have, contact Estates by calling 222 (internal) or +44 (0)117 32 81222 (external and mobiles).

What happens to them?

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.

Fluorescent lamps


Please do not allow fluorescent lamps to go into the general waste bins or skips.

Contact Estates on +44 (0)117 32 82595 if you need a light changing and/or for the collection of any spent lamps you may already have.


Please contact waste@uwe.ac.uk and we will assess them for re-use.

Food waste

Why recycle?

Around 200 tonnes of food waste are discarded at UWE Bristol each year, from catering outlets, halls of residence and staff kitchens. Much of this can be avoided, eaten or used through better management. Recycling food waste is a much better environmental option than sending it for incineration, although preventing it in the first place is the best option.

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 waste@uwe.ac.uk.

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.

What happens to them?

It is taken off site by a collection contractor and composted anaerobically (in the absence of oxygen). This produces a gas which is then used to generate electricity. The residue is used as a soil improver.

Fridges and freezers


Please do not allow fridges or refrigeration equipment to go into the general waste bins or skips.

For a collection of a fridge or freezer, contact Logistics through the online Facilities request page on the intranet. and they will arrange a collection.

What happens to them?

Fridges and freezers are sent for safe recycling.



Please contact Logistics through the online Facilities request page on the intranet to arrange furniture disposal.

For removal of larger quantities of furniture and for office moves, please contact Jacqui.Blake@uwe.ac.uk in Facilities.

What happens to it?

Depending on the quality of the furniture, it is either reused or recycled. As far as possible, UWE Bristol reuses undamaged furniture internally. If this is not possible, then it can be offered to external charities and organisations. Some non-reusable or recyclable furniture may be disposed of as general waste.

Glass and broken glass

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.

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

If you want a glass collection from a staff kitchen, please email waste@uwe.ac.uk who will arrange for a collection.

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: facilities@uwe.ac.uk 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.
  • Wear appropriate gloves to handle the glass.
  • 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.

What happens to it?

Glass is sent for recycling.

Ink and toner cartridges


Please take empty ink and toner cartridges to your nearest recycling point. It helps if they are in their boxes, as this protects them during transport. It has been difficult to find locations to house the recycling box. If you are too far from a cartridge recycling point and you have a suggestion for an area we can put one, please email waste@uwe.ac.uk.

Frenchay Campus

  • Main Reception
  • 2Q1
  • Bolland Library loading bay
  • 2N42
  • Wallscourt House, lobby area
  • 2B051
  • 0K1 - stores.

Glenside Campus

  • 1G18.

Bower Ashton Campus

  • 0F18.

What happens to them?

Toner and ink cartridges are collected by a company called WasteCare for safe recycling and disposal.

Laboratory waste and sharps


Procedures are in place for the disposal of sharps and clinical waste from Health and Applied Sciences. If you are in Health and Life Sciences, please email Michelle Hickman michelle.hickman@uwe.ac.uk for information.

If you are not in Health and Life Sciences and also produce these wastes please email waste@uwe.ac.uk. Please do not allow this waste to be disposed of in the general waste; it must be disposed of appropriately..

Non-science or non-medical broken glass does not need to be treated as a contaminated sharp. See above for more information on glass.

What happens to it?

This waste stream is safely disposed of in line with legislative requirements.



Please do not allow pallets to go into the general waste bins or skips.

For a collection of wooden pallets, raise a works request with the logistics team on who will arrange collection.

What happens to them?

They are sent for reuse or recycling depending on their condition.


Why recycle?

Recycling newsprint and office paper saves on wood. 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.

The following can be included in the paper recycling:

  • all printing/photocopy paper - staples and paper clips are fine
  • all newspapers
  • all envelopes - don't worry about the address windows, these are fine
  • magazines
  • books - but only a one or two per bin because of the weight - if you have a lot of books please put in a removal request with the logistics team.

The following shouldn't be included:

  • laminated paper.

What happens to it?

Paper is recycled into newspaper, cardboard boxes and other paper products.

Plastic packaging

Why recycle?

Plastic 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 plastic packaging, including fleece jackets. It takes just 25 x 2 litre pop bottles to make one adult size fleece jacket.

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

Take your plastic to your nearest internal recycling point.

The following can be included in the plastics recycling:

  • empty soft drinks bottles
  • empty water bottles
  • empty cooking oil bottles
  • empty detergent bottles
  • empty milk bottles
  • empty washing up liquid bottles
  • bottle caps
  • yoghurt pots
  • margarine tubs

No thank you:

  • plastic pipes
  • hard plastic (e.g. garden furniture)
  • shrink wrap
  • carrier bags
  • bin liners
  • oven ready meal trays
  • expanded polystyrene
  • non-plastic items.

What happens to them?

The plastic is recycled back into reusable plastic for use in packaging and other industries.

Spill kit (used)


Please do not allow these materials to go into the general waste bins or skips.

A disposal procedure will be attached to each spill kit on UWE Bristol premises. Please follow that procedure. If this procedure is not attached please email waste@uwe.ac.uk, who will arrange for appropriate disposal.

What happens to them?

This material is sent to hazardous waste landfill.

Swarf and small metal cuttings


Please do not allow swarf to go into the general waste bins or skips.

If you have swarf for disposal and we have not already identified your disposal route, please email waste@uwe.ac.uk. If swarf has been cut using oil based coolant, it is classed as hazardous waste and cannot be disposed of in the general waste.

What happens to it?

All swarf is sent for metals recycling.



Please do not allow tyres to go into the general waste bins or skips.

For a collection of tyres, please email waste@uwe.ac.uk who will arrange collection.