How we manage our waste

We have made a commitment to reduce the amount of waste we produce and increase the percentage of waste that is reused and recycled.


As a large organisation it is perhaps not surprising that one of the University’s biggest environmental impacts is the generation and management of waste. Reducing our waste and recycling the waste we do produce reduces landfill, combats climate change and conserves limited resources.

Our waste policy

The University manages waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy, which ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment. In practice, we:

  • Try to prevent generating waste
  • Have developed initiatives and use supplier takeback schemes to reuse some items
  • Stream materials at source for recycling where practical to do so
  • Send general waste to a materials recovery facility
  • Send non-recyclable wastes for energy recovery in preference to disposal
  • Only landfill and incinerate wastes that we are legally obliged to

What happens to waste that is collected separately by the University

Reuse schemes

We reuse the following objects:

  • Catering platters
  • Furniture
  • Fisher packaging and Winchesters
Recycling or recovery schemes

Confidential waste Lamps Green waste

  • Bulky metals
  • Mixed recycling (paper, card, plastics, glass and metals)
  • Toners
  • Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment
  • Batteries
  • Mobile phones
  • Solvents
  • Tip boxes
  • Vegetable oil

Our recycling schemes

Our A to Z of recycling

Waste sent for disposal

We send the following for disposal:

  • Clinical waste
  • Asbestos
  • Radioactive waste
  • Some chemical waste

General waste, co-mingled recycling and Materials Recovery Facilities

Space across the campus is limited so we have opted for a mixed recycling scheme where all our recycling goes in the same bin. This means that we have a two bin system – one is a recycling bin and the other is a general waste bin.

The general waste is sent to facility were the metal are picked out before it sent to an energy recovery facility.

Our recycling is sent to a materials recovery facility (MRF) for further processing – here they separate the different recyclable materials and sell it on the open market to repressors.

The importance of keeping general waste out of the recycling bins

Non-recyclable items that have been put in a recycling bin is known as contamination.

Contamination in recycling bins, especially when the contamination is food waste, can mean that the recycling has to be disposed of as general waste.

Read our waste and recycling policy in full


Our performance

The University collects comprehensive waste management information; key performance indicators are generated annually and reported.

Contact the Environment Officer for further information about the waste generated across the estate, including wastes generated by the Students' Union:

Telephone: 0114 222 9083

Recycling in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health

Some sites within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health are on Sheffield Hospital Trust premises. As a result the waste and recycling arrangements at these locations differ to those on campus. Information on how the waste is managed can be found in the handbook below.

This is relevant to people working in:

  • The Medical School at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital
  • Samuel Fox House
  • The School of Clinical Dentistry
  • University areas within the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital
  • SITraN (whilst SITraN is on University property it is part of the Medical School and there is significant overlap between the policies and procedures)

Read the Medical School and School of Clinical Dentistry Waste Handbook

A world top-100 university

We're a world top-100 university renowned for the excellence, impact and distinctiveness of our research-led learning and teaching.