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


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 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
  • 2Q001
  • Library 3rd floor
  • CSCT reception
  • Wallscourt House, lobby area
  • Business School Reception
  • 0K001
  • 3F001, Students' Union
  • Student Village Cotswold and Mendip receptions.

Glenside Campus

  • Library
  • 0G001

Bower Ashton Campus

  • 1B2
  • Central Loans Store

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 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.

Please take your cans to your nearest internal recycling point.

Recyclable cans

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

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. They are then sent to Cardiff, where they make separate bales of aluminium, steel and plastics which are sent for reprocessing to be recycled into new products.


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.

Recyclable cardboard

  • 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.

Non-recyclable cardboard

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

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 Cardiff 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.

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


Centre for Sport



C Block

Outside 2C023


H Block

The Hub

Bower Ashton

A Block

Student Union

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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?

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 fertilizer.


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. All glass bottles and jars of any colour are accepted.

If you want a glass collection from a staff kitchen, please email who will arrange for a collection.

Not accepted on campus recycling points

  • 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.

What happens to it?

Glass is bulked up in Avonmouth and then sent to Cwmbran in South Wales. Depending on the quality of the glass it is either turned back into glass or turned into aggregate used in floor surfaces such as road surfaces etc.

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.


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:

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

The following shouldn't be included:

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

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 Cardiff where it is baled and sent for recycling at paper mills in the UK and abroad, depending on demand.

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

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

Non-recyclable plastics

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

What happens to them?

The plastic is taken to a depot in Avonmouth and mechanically separated. It is then sent to Cardiff, where they make separate bales which are sent for reprocessing to be recycled into new products./p>

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