Our recycling schemes

The University generates a significant quantity of waste each year and has developed a strategy to ensure that we meet legal obligations and manage waste sustainably.

EFM is also involved in developing recycling initiatives with other teams across the University. Explore our existing recycling schemes below.

Battery recycling

The law bans the disposal of all batteries (both wet and dry cell) in landfill or by incineration. This means that batteries must not be disposed of in the general waste; instead they must be separated from the general waste stream and sent for recycling.

The University has set up a corporate battery recycling scheme. Batteries are collected and stored centrally and then collected by a waste contractor for recycling.

Slightly different arrangements exist for wet and dry cell batteries.

Dry cell batteries

Zinc carbon, zinc chloride, alkaline manganese, mercuric oxide, zinc air, silver oxide, lithium, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion batteries are all classified as dry cell batteries.

Lithium batteries must be collected separately to other dry cell batteries due to recycling requirements.

Spent Oxygen sensor units should all be disposed of as a dry cell battery.

There are two ways to recycle your batteries:

  • You can take your batteries to your departmental collection point. Large collections of batteries can be booked using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (extension 29000).
  • Smaller volumes of batteries can be sent to the Environment Officer via the internal mail.

To ensure that dry cell batteries are stored safely prior to collection please make sure that:

  • Any exposed terminals are be taped up – this is to reduce the risk of fire
  • Leaking batteries are placed in a plastic bag (preferably a transparent one)

Wet-cell batteries

Lead acid batteries; although sealed are classified as wet cell batteries. These batteries can be big and heavy.

Small sealed lead acid batteries can be disposed of in the same way as dry cell batteries – which is described above.

The Recycling Team will collect large and heavy wet cell batteries directly from departments, book a collection using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (extension 29000).

Departments must handle wet cell batteries with care prior to collection. Whilst awaiting collection, batteries must:

  • Be stored undercover and in a secure area where nobody can tamper with them, trip over them or anything can impact on them.
  • Be positioned the right way up.
  • Unless in original plastic outer containers, they must not be stacked on top of each other.
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.

With every delivery, you’ll be given a green bag. When you’ve finished your event remove the uneaten food and put the platters and lids in the green bag - there’s no need to wash them.

If you’re in a building with a porters lodge, drop the bag off there. If your building does not have a porters lodge, book a collection using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (extension 29000).

For more information about gUSto and their environmental initiatives visit www.withUS.com/gusto or email gusto@sheffield.ac.uk.

Fisher packaging recycling scheme

Fisher Scientific collects used bottles from their customers which they either reuse or recycle. 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.

Bottles are collected with biological waste by the Recycling Team. If you do not have a regular collection of biological waste from your lab, book collection using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (extension 29000).

Click here for instructions on how to clean the Winchester bottles.

Click here for the lab poster.

Mobile phone recycling

The law no longer allows electrical equipment to be disposed of in the general waste, instead all electrical equipment, including mobile phones, must be re-used, recycled or recovered.

The Voice and Data Team manage the University’s mobile device contracts. They collect unwanted devices from departments; any information on the phones is erased and where possible the device and any accessories will either be re-used within the organisation or kept as spares. Unwanted devices and accessories are sent for recycling.

If a phone is upgraded, withdrawn or if the user leaves the University, the device can be redeployed to another team member within the department. Voice and Data Team must be informed if phones are reallocated so the account information can be updated.

If the device is unwanted it must be returned to the Voice and Data Team - all devices and handsets remain the property of the University.

Devices, along with their chargers, accessories and manuals should be packaged securely and sent via the internal mail to the Voice and Data Team, CiCS Computing Centre, 8-20 Hounsfield Road, Sheffield S3 7RF. The package should be clearly labelled for reuse/recycling.

If you have any queries please contact the Voice and Data Team directly on 33333.

Mixed recycling

We collect our recycling in blue mixed recycling bins. Collecting all of our recycling in the same bin keeps things simple and means fewer bins.

Our blue recycling bin is for more than just paper and card. It’s also for cans, tins, glass, foil and plastics.

The rubbish bin is for tissues, hand towels, dirty food packaging, coffee cups, food waste and non-recyclable plastics. Pyrex and ceramics can’t be recycled in our recycling bins either.

Sometimes it can be a bit tricky to identify what can be recycled - plastics are notoriously difficult. Hopefully the list below will help. If it’s not on the list then put it in the general waste bin. If you’re still confused then give the Environment Officer a call on 29083.

Paper and card

  • White paper
  • Coloured paper
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Leaflets
  • Envelopes
  • Books
  • Journals
  • All grades of card


  • All colours of glass bottles and jars


  • All types of tins, cans and foil, including sweet tins and other similar items


  • 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

Please remember to give the recycling a quick rinse if needed.

Printer cartridge recycling

Laserjet and inkjet cartridges are collected, sorted and stored centrally by the Recycling Team for recycling.

To recycle printer cartridges you should put the empty cartridge into the package of the replacement cartridge, secure the box and send it to the Recycling Team.

There are two ways to send your printer cartridges to the Recycling Team:

  1. Via the internal mail
  2. Via departmental collection points – collections can be organised using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (extension 29000).
Tube and lamp recycling

Fluorescent tubes and lamps are classed as hazardous waste and fall under the WEEE regulations, the law bans the disposal of all types of fluorescent tubes in the general waste.

This means that fluorescent tubes and lamps must not be disposed of in the general waste bins and skips around the campus; instead they must be separated from the general waste stream and sent for recovery/recycling.

The University has set up a corporate recycling scheme for fluorescent tubes and lamps. Technical Services oversee this scheme.

Departments should book collections of fluorescent tubes and lamps by booking a collection using EFM Self Service (in MUSE) or by contacting the Estates Help Desk (extension 29000).

Note: Filament light bulbs can be disposed of as general waste.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) can no longer be disposed of with our general waste. Legislation requires the University to separate WEEE from other waste and ensure that it is re-used, recycled or recovered where possible.

A corporate system has been set up for the disposal of computers, PC peripherals and historic WEEE. Departments must arrange for the disposal of other WEEE themselves. A flowchart and guidance have been developed to help you identify the appropriate disposal route for any WEEE that you may have.

You can book a collection using the on-line booking form in EFM Self Service (find this in MUSE).

If you are disposing of lab equipment or equipment from workshops you now need to complete and upload a decontamination certificate when you book your collection. Click here to download a copy of the decontamination certificate here.

Click here to see our A-Z of recycling