Waste disposal

The Department is fully committed to managing its waste streams in a safe, effective and responsible manner which reduces its impact upon the environment.  This requires individuals to minimise the generation of waste and to select and use appropriate, and approved, disposal routes.


Laboratory Waste

The Department is committed to ensuring risks from laboratory wastes are managed effectively by appropriate identification, segregation and disposal of different waste types generated in laboratories. Application of good disposal practices is essential to ensure hazardous materials are disposed of safely and do not cause harm to others and/or the environment.  Waste disposal requirements will be clearly communicated to staff and students so that they understand their responsibilities

Importance of Waste Segregation


Laboratory Waste Disposal Arrangements


Electrical waste

Small & medium sized electrical waste

  • All electrical items (including IT equipment) must be taken to the Electronic Workshops with a completed Request to scrap equipment form (MS Word , 20kb) and a decontamination sticker attached (available from Biology Stores, Elec.W/Shops and Infrastructure Office)
  • Small electronic items such as calculators, mobile phones and timers should be returned to Biology Stores for disposal.

Large electrical equipment

  • Decontaminate the piece of equipment and place a decontamination sticker onto the item (available from Biology Stores, Elec.W/Shops and Infrastructure Office).
  • Complete a Request to scrap equipment form (MS Word , 20kb).
  • Contact the Infrastructure team to organise disposal.
  • Any charges incurred for the disposal will be passed onto the user.


General Waste

Typical General Waste Items

  • paper / card (consider putting in recycling bins)
  • packaging from consumables and equipment
  • uncontaminated paper towels / tissues


Dispose of all non-recyclable, non-hazardous general waste in the bins provided.  In office areas these bins are lined with white/opaque bin bags. 


General waste items are disposed of in black bin bags only and collected by cleaners



Recyclable waste

For further details about recycling please visit the University Waste and Recycling pages

Paper, aluminium and steel cans, cardboard and plastic bottles

The Biology Department operates a mixed recycling scheme; all the items below can be placed in any mixed recycling bin around the Department: 

  • Paper - newspapers, magazines, junk mail, office paper, catalogues, phone books, envelopes, post-it notes, leaflets, disposable coffee cups
  • Aluminium and steel cans and foil
  • Cardboard
  • Plastic - bottles, food cartons, yogurt pots and milk cartons, shrink wrap, crisp packets, plastic wrappers from biscuits, sweets, chocolate, cakes etc., disposable coffee cup lids

Food waste

There are food waste caddies located in the following areas in the Department:

  • Atrium kitchen
  • F0 kitchen
  • H1 kitchen
  • J1 teapoint
  • K1 admin kitchen
  • M1/L1 link teapoint
  • M2 (X2)
  • Q1 kitchen
  • Staff Common Room (next to Cookies)

All food waste can be placed in these caddies including:

  • Dairy products
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and bones
  • Bread and pastries
  • Tea and coffee waste

Non laboratory glass

Place clean, uncontaminated bottles & jars into the recycling bins identified for glass. Do not place broken glass into mixed recycling containers.

Toners & inkjet cartridges

Return to Biology Stores for recycling – place in the identified box outside the Biology Stores counter.


Place in the container next to the Biology Stores counter. Note – do not recycle CDs containing confidential data.

Free Table 

The free table on F corridor is a table which staff and students can donate unwanted items for re-use by others. This gives an opportunity to recycle items rather than throw away. Pop by to see what we have on offer.

Waste which can be returned to suppliers

  • Alpha – Plastic inserts should be returned to Biology Stores
  • Fermentas – Polystyrene boxes and chiller packs should be returned to Biology Stores
  • Fisher – Plastic and glass bottles should be washed out and sticker put on confirming they have been cleaned (available from Biology Stores) and returned to Biology Stores. Polystyrene boxes can also be returned.
  • GE Healthcare – Radioisotope pots should be returned to Infrastructure Team in B/F010
  • NEB – Please put pre-paid label onto empty polystyrene boxes and hand in at Biology Stores
  • Promega – Reseal box and polystyrene container and hand in to Biology Stores (ensure that all dry ice has been removed).
  • Sigma – Reseal box and polystyrene container and hand in to Biology Stores
  • Starlab – Plastic inserts should be returned to Biology Stores.


Other waste

Gas Refil Cartridges 

Please return empty gas refil cartridges to the Stores counter for disposal


Take to Biology Stores for disposal

Large items of furniture for disposal

Request the disposal via the Infrastructure Team

Fluorescent tubes & low energy lamps

Place in the labelled container in the Biology Stores compound

Confidential paper

Place the paper into confidential papers sacks – contact biol-maintenance-group@york.ac.uk for more bags and collection.  

Metal waste

Contact Infrastructure Team for guidance.

Printer /MFD cartridges

Take to Biology Stores for disposal

Any other waste

Please contact the Infrastructure Team for advice regarding the disposal of any other material e.g. precious metals.