A to Z of recycling

Find out what can be recycled and what has to go in the bin.

Aerosols

Aerosols can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins, but they must be completely empty. Do not pierce, crush or flatten the aerosols before putting them in the recycling bins.

Aluminium foil

Foil can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins - it must be clean though.

Asbestos waste and equipment containing asbestos

Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) can be found in many items, including scientific and engineering equipment.

If you know or are unsure if your equipment contains asbestos please contact the Asbestos Team who will assist with the identification and safe disposal of ACM containing equipment.

Click here for information on the University's asbestos team

Audio equipment

Audio equipment, for example CD and MP3 players, fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. Audio equipment cannot be disposed of with the general waste, instead it must be recycled.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Batteries

Batteries must not be disposed of in the general waste; instead they must be separated from the general waste stream and sent for recycling. Slightly different arrangements exist for wet and dry cell batteries.

Find information on how to recycle batteries via our recycling schemes webpage

Biological waste

The University has set up a system to ensure that biological waste is segregated and disposed of according to legislation. A corporate procedure has been written to help waste producers identify the correct disposal route.

If you generate any waste that needs to be disposed of though this waste stream you must contact the Environment Officer for advice (0114 222 9083). Alternatively, find guidance on our Lab and Workshop Waste webpage.

Books

Books can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. Books are heavy, if you are having a clear out, box them up instead of putting them in the recycling bins.

Boxes, A4 files and ring binders

Box files, A4 folders and ring binders that are made of card can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. If they are made of plastic or covered in PVC then they must be disposed of in the general waste bins.

Bubble wrap

Plastic bubble wrap that is made of low density polyethylene can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins.

Calculators

Calculators fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. They cannot be disposed of with the general waste, instead they must be recycled.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Cans

Both steel and aluminium food and drinks cans can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. They must be rinsed first.

Cardboard

Cardboard can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. Oversize boxes should be flattened and left by the side of the recycling bins.

Catalogues and directories

These can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. Catalogues are heavy, if you are having a clear out, box them up instead of putting them in the recycling bins.

Catering platters

gUSto, with the support of Estates and Facilities Management, collect plastic platters from internally catered events so they can be washed and used again. A green bag is provided with every food delivery to collect up the empty platters, they do not need to be washed, however they must be free of food.

Visit our recycling schemes webpage for more information on how to recycling catering platters

CDs and DVDs

CDs and DVDs cannot be recycled and should be disposed of as general waste; unless they contain confidential information. In which case they should be disposed of as confidential waste.

Click here for guidance on disposing of confidential waste

Chemicals

Chemicals must not be disposed of in the general waste stream or via the drain; instead they must be segregated and disposed of/treated by an appropriate waste facility.

Visit our lab and workshop waste webpage for more information

Clinical waste

The University has set up a system to ensure that clinical waste (referred to as biological waste by the organisation) is segregated and disposed of according to legislation. A corporate procedure has been written to help waste producers identify the correct disposal route.

If you generate any waste that needs to be disposed of through this waste stream you must contact the Environment Officer for advice.

Visit our lab and workshop waste webpage for more information

Confidential waste

Confidential information can be stored on variety of media – on paper, electronically on hard drives, computer disks and CDs and on audio and video tapes. Irrespective of how the information is held confidential waste must be disposed of securely and arrangements are different according to the department.

Visit our confidential waste webpage for more information

Desk lighting

Desk lighting falls under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. Desk lighting cannot be disposed of with the general waste, instead it must be recycled.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Drinks cartons

Long life drink and food cartons cannot be recycled and should be disposed of as general waste.

Electrical equipment

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) cannot be disposed of with the general waste. Legislation requires the University to separate WEEE from other waste and ensure that it is re-used, recycled or recovered where possible.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Electric hand tools

Electric hand tools fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. They cannot be disposed of with the general waste, instead they must be recycled.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Envelopes

Used envelopes can be reused for internal post and recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins.

Fridges and freezers

Fridges and freezers fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. They cannot be disposed of in the general waste skips. Both must be disposed of through the WEEE recycling scheme. However lab fridges and freezers must be decontaminated and all the food stuff must be removed from kitchen fridges and freezer prior to collection.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Furniture

Where possible surplus furniture should be reused within the organisation. Broken items of furniture, however, are recycled.

Visit our webpage on bulky waste for more information

Gas bottles, canisters and cylinders

Gas bottles, canisters and cylinders are very difficult to dispose of and must not be disposed of with the general waste. Reusable containers must be returned to the supplier for reuse.

The Recycling Team will collect single use and orphaned gas bottles, canisters and cylinders for recycling. Book collection using EFM Self Service (via MUSE) or contact the EFM Help Desk (efmhelpdesk@sheffield.ac.uk).

The purchase of single use gas bottles, canisters and cylinders should be avoided where possible.

Glass bottles and jars

Glass, including chemical containers, can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. Glass bottles and jars must be rinsed first. The labels on chemical bottles must be defaced before they are put in the recycling bins.

IT equipment

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) cannot be disposed of with the general waste. Legislation requires the University to separate WEEE from other waste and ensure that it is re-used, recycled or recovered where possible.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Journals

Journals can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. Journals are heavy, if you are having a clear out, box them up instead of putting them in the recycling bins.

Kitchen appliances

Small kitchen appliances, such as kettles, coffee machines and toasters fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. They cannot be disposed of with the general waste, instead they must be recycled.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Lab glassware

Lab glassware has a different melting point than glass bottles and jars; consequently it can’t be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. Instead lab glassware has to be disposed of as general waste.

For health and safety reasons lab glassware must not be disposed of in lab waste bins. Every lab must have a dedicated glass bin that should be emptied directly into the external bins when it is full.

Lamps - microscope and projector

Microscope and projector lamps are classed as hazardous waste so must not be disposed of in the general waste. Wrap them up and organise collection using the EFM Self Service tool (via MUSE) or by contacting EFM Help Desk (efmhelpdesk@shef.ac.uk).

Leaflets and junkmail

Both leaflets and junk mail can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins.

Lightbulbs

Fluorescent tubes, lamps and halogen bulbs are classed as hazardous waste so must not be disposed of in the general waste bins and skips.

Click here for more information on what to do via our recycling schemes webpage

Magazines

Magazines can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. Magazines are heavy, if you are having a clear out, box them up instead of putting them in the recycling bins.

Mercury thermometers

Thermometers and other items containing mercury should be disposed of as hazardous waste. Broken items should be packaged up securely in order to keep the mercury contained.

Visit our lab and workshop waste webpage for more information

Metal drums

The Recycling Team will collect clean metal drums for recycling. Book collection using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (efmhelpdesk@sheffield.ac.uk or extension 29000).

Mobile phones

Mobile phones must be returned to the Voice and Data Team, who manage the University’s mobile device contracts.

Visit our recycling schemes webpage for more information

Napkins and serviettes

Napkins and serviettes cannot be recycled and should be disposed of in the general waste bins.

Oil, oily rags and rags

Oils and anything contaminated with mineral oil, for example wipes, rags and packaging must not be disposed of in the general waste stream or via the drain; instead they must be segregated and disposed of/treated by an appropriate facility.

Visit the lab and workshop waste webpage for more information

Paints and varnish

Paints and varnishes must not be disposed of in the general waste stream or via the drain; instead they must be segregated and disposed of /treated by an appropriate facility.

Visit the lab and workshop waste webpage for more information

Paper towels

Paper towels cannot be recycled and should be disposed of in the general waste bins.

Plasma screens and TVs

Plasma screens and TVs fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. Audio equipment cannot be disposed of with the general waste, instead it must be recycled.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Plastic bottles and containers

Many plastics can be put in our mixed recycling, including:

  • Tubs: Containing non-food items for example hand cream, wipes, detergent and cleaning products; and food items such as soup pots and margarine tubs
  • Bags: Plastic bags and polythene
  • Bottles: All types of plastic bottles - if it has a lid it can be recycled
  • Pots: Hard pots without lids, for example yoghurt pots and noodle pots
  • Trays that hold fruit, vegetables, cakes and biscuits
  • Moulded plastic packaging from non-food items, for example from batteries or memory sticks

Click here for information on our mixed recycling scheme

Plugs and electrical cables

Plugs and electrical cables fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. They cannot be disposed of with the general waste. Legislation requires the University to separate WEEE from other waste and ensure that it is re-used, recycled or recovered where possible.

Find infomation on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Polystyrene and polystyrene chips

Polystyrene and polystyrene chips are not collected separately for recycling. They should be disposed of through the general waste stream.

Polythene and plastic bags

Polythene and plastic bags made of low density polyethylene can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins.

Radioactive waste

If you generate any radioactive waste you should read the University's procedures before contacting the University’s Radioactive Waste Adviser with any queries.

Click here for further information

Sharps waste

Sharps are items that could cause cuts or puncture wounds. They include needles, hypodermic needles, scalpels, other blades, knives, scissors, glass Pasteur pipettes and other sharp laboratory instruments.

Sharps must only be disposed of in sharps bins. Disposing of them in any other waste stream puts colleagues and waste operatives at risk of injury.

If you generate any sharps waste you should contact the Environment Officer for advice (call 0114 222 9083).

Solvents

Solvents must not be disposed of in the general waste stream or via the drain; instead they must be segregated and disposed of/treated by an appropriate facility.

Visit our lab and workshop waste webpage for more information

Tins

Both steel and aluminium food tins can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins. They must be rinsed first.

Telephones

Telephones fall under the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) regulations. They cannot be disposed of with the general waste. Legislation requires the University to separate WEEE from other waste and ensure that it is re-used, recycled or recovered where possible.

Find information on how to manage WEEE via our recycling schemes webpage

Tissues

Tissues cannot be recycled and should be disposed of in the general waste bins.

Vending and coffee cups

Some vending cups can be recycled while others can’t.

Plastic cups can be recycled in the co-mingled recycling bins but they must be rinsed and empty.

Polystyrene and cardboard vending cups cannot be recycled and must be disposed of in the general waste. Cardboard vending cups cannot be recycled because they have a liquid resistant coating.

Video and audio tapes

Video and audio tapes cannot be recycled and should be disposed of as general waste; unless they contain confidential information, in which case they should be disposed of as confidential waste.

Click here for guidance on how to dispose of confidential waste

Winchesters

Fisher Scientific collects used Winchesters for reuse and recycling. They also collect cardboard boxes from their customers for reuse.

The University takes advantage of this scheme and collects and stores Fisher Scientific Winchester bottles and cardboard boxes centrally for collection by Fisher Scientific.

Visit out lab and workshop waste webpage for information

Wooden pallets and packaging

The Recycling Team will collect wooden pallets, wooden packaging and other wooden items for recycling. Book collection using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (extension 29000).