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Where to put your recycling and waste

Find out how best to dispose of your waste on Campus.

This information is only for waste generated on-campus. Please see the York Council Recycling Pages for more information about recycling elsewhere in the City of York.

Remember the waste hierarchy before throwing away: Reduce, reuse and recycle.

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Sustainability at York

The right bin for the job

So that we can recycle as much University waste as possible, it's important that you put it in the correct bin. Recycling bins use clear bin bags. General waste bins use black bin bags. If you're living on campus you'll also have a food waste bin and a glass bag in your kitchen. 

If you're living in one of our colleges, the Kitchen Waste and Recycling Poster 2023 (PDF , 92kb) on your kitchen noticeboard will show you how to use each bin. 

Find out more about each bin type below.


If you use a YORCUP when purchasing hot drinks on campus, you don’t need to find an outlet to hand the cup back to. Use our large green bins with ‘YORCUP’ written on. You’ll mostly find these outside cafes or restaurants, so you can also drop them off when the outlet is closed. See all the bin locations on our sustainable facilities map.

Single-use coffee cup bins

If you use a single-use coffee cup when purchasing a hot drink on campus, make sure you dispose of it in our single-use coffee cup recycling bins. The single-use plastic cups can’t normally be recycled, but we’ve teamed up with Forge recycling who collect the cups from campus. This means they don’t end up in landfill. There are 25 giant bins across campus, and you can see their locations on our sustainable facilities map.

Mixed Recycling bins (with green labelling) are located in the majority of the University's buildings, as well as in the external waste compounds (for use by on-campus residents). Some areas have paper-only recycling bins as this makes collection easier. 

These recycling bins are collected on a routine schedule, but if you need to arrange a large ad-hoc collection then contact the Facilities Helpdesk by email on or on 01904 325555.

Using the mixed recycling bin:

  • Remove all item contents and polystyrene inserts (these must be placed in the General Waste)
  • Put small pieces of cardboard into the recycling bin - larger pieces should be flattened and placed next to the internal recycling bin so cleaners can remove them easily
  • Rinse out any food containers before putting them  into the recycling bin
  • Ensure items put into mixed recycling bins are dry, do not contain liquids / food, and are uncontaminated (do not contain any non-recyclables).


College residents

Glass from College residential kitchens is recycled - all colours of glass can be recycled but not cookware (eg Pyrex). There are also green bins for glass located outside colleges which can also be used by staff.

We provide separate glass recycling facilities for campus accommodation areas.


We are looking into offering options for recycling glass in departments but currently glass should be placed in general waste bins, or in one of the green bins for glass which can be found outside colleges.

If your department generates large quantities of glass waste, please contact the Sustainability Manager ( to discuss potential opportunities for recycling.

Please remember to empty and wash out any glass items before putting them into the glass recycling bin.

College residents

Items that can be put inside Food Waste caddies are:

  • Left-over food
  • Bread, meat
  • Vegetable peelings
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea bags
  • Clear plastic bags with food in
  • Packaging full with food.

The following should not be placed in Food Waste:

  • Egg shells
  • Empty food packaging
  • Opaque plastic bags.


Currently food recycling is limited in non-residential areas. There should be minimal food waste generated in departmental areas, but where there are no facilities for food recycling, food should be placed in the general waste bins.

If your department is interested in instigating a food waste system for your department/area please contact our Sustainability Manager ( to discuss if this can be arranged.

There are British Heart Foundation banks located at every college. This is a great way of recycling the following items:

  • Accessories
  • CDs 
  • Clothes
  • DVDs 
  • Shoes

Donation bank and electrical drop-off point map

The general waste bins should only be used for material that can’t be recycled but doesn’t need alternative disposal (eg hazardous or electrical waste disposal). The good news is that our general waste is used to make electrical energy, but it should still be used only as a last resort. 

Examples of general waste items include: polystyrene, Tetra Paks (eg fruit juice cartons), cling film, tissues, paper hand towels, egg shells and worn out carrier bags.

What to put where

Search for an item here to find out how best to dispose of it. Search 'recycle', 'reuse' or 'donate' to see what items can be recycled, reused and donated.

Item What to do  Where to put it Additional info
Aerosol cans Recycle Mixed recycling bin Must be completely empty. Do not place filled cans into the bins.
Batteries Recycle Battery bin Located at reception desks, see below.
Beverage carton Reduce General waste bin eg. juice cartons.
Bubble wrap Reduce / reuse General waste bin If it can no longer be re-used, it should go into the general waste. 
Butter / yoghurt pots Recycle Mixed recycling bin Please make sure these are empty before putting into the recycling.
Cans and tins Recycle Mixed recycling bin  Please make sure that these are clean, empty and uncontaminated. Do not place filled cans into the bins.
CD's Reuse / donate British Heart Foundation bank  Banks are located at every college. 
Cellophane wrappers Recycle  Mixed recycling  Please make sure that these are clean and uncontaminated. 
Ceramic Reduce / reuse General waste bin Reuse or donate any unbroken ceramic where possible.
Chewing gum Reduce General waste bin Do not put this in the food bin.
Clinical/medical waste Reduce See below  You will need to request a Clinical/medical/sharps bin, see below
Clothes Reuse / donate  British Heart Foundation bank Banks are located at every college. 
Coffee cups Recycle Single-use coffee cup bin Recycle your single-use coffee cups in our designated bins located across campus. You can find their locations on our sustainable facilities map.
Confidential waste Reduce  Confidential waste bag  It is important these are disposed of in the correct manner for data protection, see below
Cooking oils Reduce See below  Large volumes of cooking oil should not be used due to fire risk, see below
Crisp packets Recycle  Mixed recycling bin   
DVDs Reuse / donate  British Heart Foundation bank  Banks are located at every college. 
Egg shells Reduce  General waste bin  These cannot be put into the food bin and should go in the general waste. 
Electrical waste (WEEE) Electrical waste  See below  Must be disposed of separately from other waste, see below
Envelopes Reuse / recycle  Mixed recycling bin Envelopes with or without windows can both be recycled. 
Foil - aluminium / tin Recycle  Mixed recycling bin  Please make sure that foil is clean and uncontaminated. 
Food waste Recycle Food waste bin (if available) Place all food without packaging in the nearest food compost bin, excluding egg shells and chewing gum.
Folders/files/ plastic wallets Reduce / reuse  General waste  Where possible please reuse these items. Throwing away is a last resort. 
Furniture Reuse  See below See below for ways to get the most out of and get rid of unwanted furniture. 
Glass Reuse / recycle Glass bin (if available) If no glass bin available, put in a general waste bin. All colours of glass can be recycled, but not pyrex.
Hard plastics Reduce / reuse General waste Hard plastics cannot be recycled, check the label and reuse where possible.
Metal Recycle  See below Depending on the quantity of metal, we may need to collect separately, see below.
Padded envelope/jiffy bag Reduce / reuse  General waste bin  Where possible please reuse these items. Throwing away is a last resort.  
Paper/cardboard/junk mail Recycle  Mixed recycling bin  
Paper hand towels Reduce General waste bin  
Plastic bottles Recycle  Mixed recycling bin  Please make sure you have rinsed these out. 
Period products Reduce See below  
Printer and toner cartridges  Reduce  / recycle See below  These will need to be collected separately for off site recycling, see below
Polystyrene packaging Reduce  General waste bin  
Post it notes Recycle Mixed recycling bin  
Sandwich boxes Recycle  Mixed recycling bin  Please make sure these are uncontaminated before putting in the recycling. 
Sweet wrappers Recycle  Mixed recycling bin  Please make sure that these are clean and uncontaminated. 
Tetra packs Reduce  General waste bin   
Textiles Reduce / reuse General waste bin Reuse where possible. Donate clothes to a British Heart foundation bank, located at every college.
Toilet / kitchen roll inserts Recycle Mixed recycling bin  
Toothpaste tubes Reduce  General waste bin   
Toys and accessories Reuse / donate British Heart Foundation bank Working toys, accessories and other useful items can be donated. Banks are located at every college.
Wood Recycle  See below  Depending on the quantity of wood, we may need to collect separately, see below
Wooden pallets Reuse / recycle  See below  All pallets should be returned to the supplier to remove from campus wherever possible, see below
YORCUP Reuse YORCUP bin Join our YORCUP scheme and hand your reusable cup back in at outlets or in our YORCUP bins.

Other items

Domestic disposable batteries should be placed in the battery bins located at reception desks.

Any attached wires should be removed to avoid creating a fire hazard. Batteries must never be placed in mixed recycling or general waste due to their hazardous nature. 

Industrial batteries should be disposed of through the Facilities Helpdesk

 (Tel: 5555 or

If you need to dispose of clinical and medical waste (eg catheter bags, sharps) please email or to request a suitable bin.

 This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Self-catheterisation bags
  • Sharps boxes

Used period products should be placed in the dedicated bins located in every toilet or bathroom.

Period products should never be flushed down the toilet because it may clog the drainage system and lead to the flooding of the toilet. 

Confidential waste is any material that contains sensitive personal or business data that requires secure destruction to ensure that the contents remain private (for example, to comply with data protection legislation or to maintain confidentiality).

Confidential waste bags can be ordered through Planon. Enter the keyword ‘confidential’ and select ‘request for confidential waste sacks’ to place your order. Once it’s two-thirds full, please make a waste disposal request through Planon or the Facilities Helpdesk for collection. The contents are then securely shredded off site.

Media collection can also be requested through the Facilities Helpdesk including CDs, DVDs and tapes containing sensitive information. Please place these in the same type of confidential bag, but make a comment in the request stating the contents and mark "Digital Media" on the outside of the bag prior to collection.

If you shred your own paper, please put your shredded waste in a clear bag and place it in an external mixed recycling bin. Please leave the shredded waste in the clear bag so that it does not escape when the external bin is emptied.

It is your responsibility to keep your data and information secure, so please ensure these are stored securely inside prior to collection.

Electrical waste - IT equipment

IT Services, Estates and Stone work together to provide an IT equipment disposal service.

Stone, the external contractor the University use for recycling IT equipment, will wipe data from all equipment before reuse. However, we advise that you delete any highly-confidential data before the hardware is collected, as the equipment is not securely transported or stored until it reaches the external contractor. If you'd like us to remove the data before it is collected, please contact IT Support

Departments who need to dispose of IT waste such as PCs, monitors, associated peripherals, scanners, printers and servers should follow the steps below.

Small collections (fewer than 15 large items):

  1. Prepare your items for collection:
    • Please box up any keyboards/mouse/cables etc
    • Non-confidential data does NOT need to be deleted beforehand, as Stone use data wiping software to make a unit safe but re-usable. Using a degausser destroys the hard drive, and equipment would only be suitable for scrap at that point. If you need help to remove confidential data before it goes to Stone, please contact IT Support
  2. Use Helpdesk to request a collection:
  3. Add the contact name, telephone number, room location and number of items.

Estates and Campus Services (DECS) will collect your equipment. The items will then be stored by IT Services until Stone makes their scheduled collection.

Larger collections (15 or more large items, such as bulk PC replacements, or very large items eg server cabinets):

Email with the details, including contact name, telephone number, room location and number of items.

The Desktop, Printing & Support Services team within IT Services will get in touch with you, to discuss a direct collection by Stone.

HP toners

Bulk boxes can be obtained for recycling used Hewlett Packard (HP) consumables (for example, toner cartridges, fuser units and drums). Departments with York Print Plus (YPP) will be provided with the boxes on set up. To arrange for box provision, collections and replacement boxes, you or your department's York Print Plus SuperUser(s) should register with HP Planet Partners and arrange collections with them:

Non-HP toners

Staff and students can use the Facilities Helpdesk to arrange collection of non-HP cartridges for off-site recycling.

Wood and wooden pallets

Bulky items or large quantities of waste wood and metal can be collected from departments for recycling. Contact the Facilities Helpdesk to arrange this. Wooden pallets

All pallets should be returned to the supplier to remove from campus wherever possible. If that’s not an option, contact the Facilities Helpdesk who can arrange collection of natural wooden pallets.

If you have coloured delivery pallets, these are owned by the companies that make them, and they will collect them for reuse as follows:

  • Red pallets: LPR
  • Blue pallets: CHEP
  • Brown pallets: IPP

If you have office furniture you no longer need, please send an email around your department to see if anyone else can make use of it. If it cannot be re-used within your department, it can be advertised on the University's furniture re-use scheme, WarpIt. Please note, this is for staff only

As a last resort a request can be made to the Facilities Helpdesk to have it collected, and it will then be disposed of offside, either through reuse, recycling, or disposal. If you need to arrange the transfer or disposal of furniture contact the Facilities Helpdesk (Tel: 5555 or

If you have any other unwanted items that aren’t listed here and can’t be disposed of in the normal recycling or waste facilities (eg because they’re too large) please contact the Facilities Helpdesk.

This will ensure that the waste is effectively disposed of in a manner that is sustainable and safe for yourselves and the individuals that handle the waste from the bins.

If in doubt ask before throwing waste items away!



Do you really need to buy it? Save unnecessary waste and save yourself money too!


Before throwing something in the bin, think whether you can use it for another purpose!


Recycle as much as possible after reducing and reusing!

Contact us

Sustainability at York