Waste A-Z

Here you should be able to find out how to dispose of or handle any waste within the University, but if you have any questions contact [email protected].


Aerosols can be recycled with your mixed recycling. Make sure they are empty and put them in one of the mixed recycling points.


Before working on any building you must determine whether there is asbestos by consulting the asbestos register. If in any doubt contact Estates and Facilities on extension 5488.

4,500 people die every year from inhaling asbestos fibres so please do not take any risks. Asbestos should only be disposed of by professionals with category C training.


Batteries must not be put in recycling bins or waste bins.

Non lead-acid batteries can be disposed of at Battery Back bins soon to be located on all campuses.

There is a lead-acid battery container in Marylebone car park.

Lithium batteries can be placed in a container in Wells Street.

High street retailers that sell batteries such as Boots, Tesco, Sainsburys and Ryness also accept batteries for recycling.

Instead of buying normal batteries, why not buy rechargeable batteries? They last longer and are better for the environment.


You can sell or give away your bicycle through websites such as Freecycle or eBay. Look at the Re-cycle website to see if there is a charity you could give it to.


Books in good condition can be donated to the many charity shops around Westminster or Harrow, or you could try using a site like BookMooch where you can swap your old books for someone else's. For large volumes of books contact the Waste Coordinator at [email protected] Do not place them in the waste or recycling.

Check in your break area to see if there is a book exchange where you can pick up free books and leave behind your old reads.

Bottles and jars

Bottles and jars can be recycled in bins where it is specified. Please rinse before recycling, and include bottle tops and jar lids.

Bottle tops

These are best placed in the waste as they are too small for our contractor’s machines to process.

Bubble wrap

We can't recycle bubble wrap at the moment but it can be easily re-used to wrap up valuables which are going in storage or being posted. If you cannot re-use it put it in the normal waste bins.

Bulky waste

Please contact the Estates team or the Waste Coordinator at [email protected], or use our reuse hub, do not just abandon it in a dark corner or place in a corridor.


Cans and tins can be recycled. Just rinse them out, if you can, and put them in your nearest recycling bin.


Squash the cardboard flat. It can then be recycled in the recycling bins. If you have boxes that are too large to fit in the container or you have quite a few, flatten and bundle together with tape and ask Estates, through the Helpdesk, to take the material away.


You can recycle cartons in your mixed recycling bins. Remember to rinse and squash your cartons, and screw the lids back on before recycling.

The cartons will be sorted from the other items at the Materials Recovery Facility.


Unless these have confidential data on, please place them in the waste bins. They can also be used as bird scarers if you wish to take them home.


If you use chemicals you must carry out a COSHH assessment. This assessment must include consideration of the waste you produce and how you will safely dispose of it. The producer of the hazardous chemical waste must provide details (contact details, location and description of the waste) to Estate and Facilities. If you are working on the laboratory facilities please follow your instructor’s guidance.

Non-routine waste collections should such as from a laboratory clear out should be discussed with the Faculty Project Manager to ensure it forms part of any refurbishment, decant or move.

All staff that produce hazardous chemical waste are advised to dispose of their waste on a regular basis. It is the responsibility of Schools/Departments and their Health and Safety advisors to ensure stockpiling does not happen.

Hazardous chemical waste is defined in the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 and the European Waste Catalogue. The University acts in accordance to the legislation for radioactive substances waste as stated on the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2010/675.

Christmas cards and paper

Old cards and paper can be re-used for making present tags or paper chains. Otherwise, you can recycle them by putting them in the recycling bins. Remember - metallic paper cannot be recycled so try not to buy it.


Where appropriate, waste chutes can be fixed to the outside of a building or scaffold but only with the approval of the Sustainability Manager.

Cling film

Sorry, we can't recycle cling film. Reduce the amount of cling film you use by storing sandwiches and food in sealable plastic containers.

Clinical waste

Laboratory waste including sharp objects, biological samples, disposable lab equipment, gloves etc. should have designated receptacles and waste management systems. If not please contact the Estates and Facilities team or the Waste Coordinator at [email protected]


All your unwanted clothing, in good or poor condition, can be taken to a Scope textile bin at Clipstone Mews/Carburton Street or the British Heart Foundation/TRAID bin at the back of the halls in Harrow.

Coffee cups

Most coffee cups cannot currently be recycled as they can cause problems with the sorting machines and contaminate the paper stream. Why not reduce the number of coffee cups you use by using a University of Westminster Keep Cup (available at most of our catering outlets) or reusable coffee mug?

See our Sustainability blog article on coffee cups.


Get involved with composting at our growing spaces, contact Richard Hope on ext. 66138 for details.


For the collection of IT equipment, please contact IT services via a Service Desk ticket. For any other type of electrical equipment, eg lab equipment, kettles, lamps, please submit a request for its removal to the Waste Coordinator at [email protected]

If still in working condition, advertise your old computer on Advertise for re-use in the reuse hub if in working condition.

Confidential Data

There is a collection system in place using labelled bins in all office areas. If these are not available it is acceptable to use boxes or sacks marked ‘confidential waste’ providing a general description of the type, location and number of items to be removed by Estates and Facilities.

Staff should undertake the training module on data protection.


Any item mixed with recycling that is not specified on the container is 'contamination'. Large amounts of contamination can lead to the rest of the recycling in the container, or recycling lorry, being disposed of as rubbish rather than being processed for recycling. This can incur additional charges.


Contractors must legally reduce, re-use and recycle where possible.

Drinks bottles and cans

These can be recycled - just put them in your nearest recycling bin. Please rinse out your bottles before you throw them out.

Duty of Care

Any waste producer has a duty of care to make sure that:

  • Waste does not escape from a controlled environment
  • It is transferred to an authorised person only
  • A written description is provided of the waste on its transfer
  • They receive a waste transfer note
  • Records are kept of the waste transfer note (2 years)

This duty of care means that you are responsible for the waste even after it leaves you. This manifests itself in the waste coordinator (Andrew Sherwood) visiting the locations where the waste is sent to or processed.

Hazardous waste requires the receiving of a consignment note which then has to be kept for 3 years.

Egg boxes

Cardboard egg boxes can be added to your mixed recycling. Plastic egg boxes, like other plastic trays, can also be recycled.

Electrical goods

All waste electrical and electronic equipment must be collected separately from general rubbish to be reused or recycled.

Contact Estates for removal and recycling if there is not an electrical bin available to you.

End of Term

At the end of each term, we partner with London Re-use to re-use as much of the stuff that is thrown out as possible.

Large electrical appliances

Log a HelpDesk request. Do not just dump it and hope for the best – a post-it note saying 'For disposal' is not very helpful on its own!


Switch off electrical appliances not in use. Left on standby, televisions, computers and stereos still use 50% of the electricity they would when switched on.


If you can't re-use old envelopes, recycle them. You don't need to remove the transparent window - just put it in your recycling bin.

Fire extinguishers

Please log a HelpDesk request for a replacement and disposal.


Aluminium foil and foil trays can be recycled with your mixed recycling. Simply compress into a ball or push it into an aluminium can. Loose sheets of foil cannot be distinguished easily from paper at our materials recovery facility.

Please note crisp packets and other foil-like films cannot be recycled; they need to go in with your household rubbish.


It is important to correctly dispose of our waste to prevent bins contamination. This occurs when non-recyclable items such as food get mixed with recyclable items. Contamination could lead to a lorry-load of recyclable material being rejected and the University bearing the cost.

Food waste from our canteens is composted in the South West of the UK.

Freezers and fridges

From the 1st July 2007, the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Directive requires WEEE to be collected separately from general waste to be reused or recycled.

Read more information on WEEE.

Please do NOT put redundant fridges and freezers in any waste skip or container. Arrange with the Waste Coordinator at [email protected] to collect any fridges and freezers that need to be disposed of.


If you have office furniture you no longer need, please send an email to 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 re-use system. This will give others the opportunity to make use of it.

Broken wood that cannot be reused must be collected by Estates and Facilities and be put in the wood skip while scrap metal needs to be placed on the metal skip.

Gas bottles

Gas bottles are classified as hazardous household waste and must be disposed of carefully, due to the trace amounts of gas that may remain and cause explosions at the recycling facilities.

In most instances, the company or organisation that provided the gas cylinder will arrange to collect it so that they can re-use it. If the cylinder is an LP gas cylinder the customer should contact the LP Gas Association on 08457 626379. Contact the Estates team for advice.


Glass bottles and jars can be recycled where bins are marked as accepting glass.


Old glasses in good condition can be donated to developing countries around the world. Ask your local optician if they collect them or send them in a sturdy box to Vision Aid Overseas, 12 The Bell Centre, Manor Royal, Crawley, W. Sussex, RH10 2FZ.

Hazardous waste

Chemicals, batteries, electronic equipment and liquid paint are all classified as hazardous waste and should not be disposed of with your rubbish or mixed recycling. Contact the Estates team.

Dangerous and hazardous waste materials are to be disposed of in accordance with the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005. Consignment notes must be kept by the contractor and a copy given to the waste coordinator, Andrew Sherwood.

From 1 April 2016, businesses producing or holding hazardous waste don’t have to register their premises. We must still:

  1. Classify our waste to check if it’s hazardous.
  2. Separate and store hazardous waste safely.
  3. Use authorised businesses to collect, recycle or dispose of your hazardous waste – check that waste carriers are registered and waste sites have environmental permits.
  4. Fill in the parts of the consignment note that apply to you – keep one copy and give 2 copies to the carrier collecting your waste.
  5. Keep records (known as a ‘register’) for 3 years.

Junk mail

To stop unaddressed mail being delivered to your address, register your address with Royal Mail.

To stop receiving unsolicited addressed mail, register with the Mailing Preference Service.


Knives should never be disposed of loose in rubbish or recycling bags due to the risk that they pose to collection staff and the general public. Knives, cutlery and other sharp items like broken crockery, mirrors and drinking glasses must be wrapped and taped in plastic, paper or bubble wrap and placed in a sealed and secure rigid cardboard box or plastic container clearly labelled ‘SHARP ITEMS’. They can then be placed in the waste.


You don't have to remove the labels from cans and bottles - just remember to rinse them out before you recycle them.


The University has four environmental permits for radioactive substances as well as hazardous waste producer licences which will be unnecessary from 1 April 2016 as businesses producing or holding hazardous waste won’t have to register their premises. For more information contact the waste coordinator.

The university is also registered as a Lower Tier Waste carrier/broker/dealer. This license allows us to transfer our own waste in our vehicles between sites (CBDL14008).

All contractors must be registered with the Environment Agency and hold valid licenses. A check must be made on all waste contractors and verified with the Environment Agency. Some contractors are exempt from needing a license/permit but will need an exemption certificate.


Put jar lids, metal screw caps, plastic bottle tops, tray lids and clean plastic yoghurt pot lids in with your normal recycling.

Light bulbs

Energy saving light bulbs and fluorescent tubes contain small amounts of mercury, which is hazardous, and should not be put into your rubbish or mixed recycling.

Fluorescent tubes should be taken to special containers in the bin areas of Harrow, 115 Cavendish and Marylebone Road.

Filament bulbs (old-style, halogen or non-energy saving) cannot be recycled and should be put in the normal rubbish, wrapped in paper.


Magazines can be recycled. Put them in your recycling basket, bag or bin for collection.


Call the Estates and Facilities Team


Metal tins and cans can be recycled. Just put it the normal recycling.

Please put all scrap metal in the dedicated scrap metal skips at Marylebone and Harrow. If any part should comprise electrical or electronic equipment waste those parts or the whole if they cannot be separated, should be dealt as WEEE waste.

Milk bottles

Plastic milk bottles can be recycled and should be added to your mixed recycling.

Glass milk bottles cannot be recycled - they are made from a different kind of glass to other bottles and jars. Please return them to your milkman or to the shop you bought them from.

Milk containers (plastic)

Rinse these out, squash and add them to your mixed recycling.

Milk containers (carton/Tetrapak):

Rinse these out, squash and add them to your mixed recycling.


Please see if someone on the reuse hub requires a mirror, otherwise contact the Estates team.

Mixed Recycling Bins

Dry Mixed Recycling Bins accept the following:

Things that can be recycled in mixed recycling binsThings that cannot be recycled in m mixed recycling bins

Mobile phones

Simply Drop, Greensource, Oxfam, Redeem and Scope will all accept your old mobiles and chargers. Contact any of them to find out how to donate. Please remove all SIM cards.

This type of waste can be included in the WEEE waste and can be reused and recycled. It is important that the battery of the mobile phone is correctly disposed of in accordance to with the regulations for hazardous waste.


These can be recycled. Put them in your normal recycling.


Cooking oil should never be poured down the sink. As a last resort cooking oil can be put into a container and placed in your normal rubbish.

Cooking oils are normally collected at New Cavendish Street through the catering provider Aramark. All other types of oil, empty oil containers, etc. are classed as hazardous waste. Please follow the process for hazardous waste in these cases.

Oils can clog drainage and contaminate water, therefore they should never be disposed through the sink and must be safely collected and separated. Cooking oil can be recycled and used as fuel or to produce biodiesel, soap, and other industrial products such as clothes, rubber, detergents and make-up.


Most packaging can be recycled using the recycling services at the University. A particular exception is plastic film which cannot be recycled.


All paint tins with any contents are collected by SITA; please contact Estates and Facilities. Empty tins go into skips of general waste.

Paint can contain hazardous substances; therefore, they should be handled in a specific waste management process and be fully empty and clean before recycling as tins.


Staff need to ask the supplier to take their pallets (and any other packaging) away. CHEP (blue) pallets should be returned to CHEP on call.

Suppliers have the duty of care for their waste management under the Waste (England and Wales) Regulation SI 2011/988.


Please use the internal Mixed Recycling bins or (preferably) Paper bins. For larger items use the external recycling bins. Please flat-pack any cardboard before putting it in the bins. If it is still too big to fit comfortably in a bin, it can be temporarily stored behind the bin.

Where possible please re-use files, folders and any other items of surplus stationary. If you cannot re-use them yourself, they can be advertised on the University’s re-use system. If it is not possible to find a new home for the item(s), please separate any plastic coverings, wrappings and file dividers prior to putting them in the Mixed Recycling bins.

Paper food containers such as paper cups or pizza boxes should be discarded in general waste bins to avoid contamination and consequently rejection for recycling unless very clean.


You can recycle plastic bottles, pots, tubs and food trays, including plastic tops and lids. Watch the Secret Life of Plastics on YouTube.

You cannot recycle plastic film, plant pots, polystyrene or CD cases in the normal recycling.

It is not particularly helpful to look at the plastic types as at Westminster you can recycle all of types 1 and 2 but only some of types 5 and 6.

If an item cannot be recycled try to reduce the amount of this type of plastic you purchase at the supermarket. When you next go out shopping, make an active choice not to buy goods which have a lot of plastic packaging (eg if you can, choose to purchase loose fruit and vegetables rather than pre-packed).

While plastic cups can be recycled in the Mixed Recycling bins, it is better to avoid using them altogether. You could use mugs or glasses instead. This will save you money and reduce the impact on the environment. Re-usable coffee/tea cups are available on the university’s canteen.

Plastic bags

There is a 5p charge on single-use plastic carrier bags in England. Over 8 billion plastic bags are used each year in the UK.

Plastic bags can't be recycled in Westminster/Harrow/Chiswick as they are very lightweight and get caught between the sheets of paper at the sorting facility. They can then damage the machinery at the paper recycling plant.

When you next go shopping, why not take some plastic bags with you. Better still, purchase a "Bag for Life" or take a canvas bag to carry your shopping in – not only are they stronger but they can be reused many times.

Once they are worn out you can recycle them in our mixed recycling bins, ideally they should be scrunched in a ball so they don’t get mistaken for paper at the materials recovery facility.

Polystyrene packaging

This cannot be recycled at Westminster. When buying new things, make a conscious effort to buy things with as little packaging as possible. More and more distributors are also switching to eco-friendly alternatives such as starch and wool-based padding.

Printer cartridges

There are collection points at Wells Street, Cavendish and Harrow (collected by Takeback). At Marylebone (collected by Clover Environmental Solutions). Check with your department, some departments recycle directly through the supplier Office Depot.

They must be correctly disposed of as they are highly hazardous to the environment due to the dyes and chemicals contained by them, according to the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations.


This cannot be recycled as it can explode when heated up in the glass recycling furnace. If you have broken pyrex glass, wrap it carefully and put it out with your normal rubbish.


Please contact Estates and Facilities.

Shredded paper

Shredded paper can be put it in a paper envelope and recycled in the mixed recycling bins. Please use confidential waste bins for confidential waste.


Sometimes skips are designated for construction sites only. Skips are usually in the basement areas. There are wood, WEEE (small electrical items) and metal skips. Please contact Estates and Facilities.

Skips containing combustible materials should be placed 10m from a building. If closer, the skip must be locked. Skips containing dusty material should be covered with a tarpaulin.

Smart shopping

Around a third of all the food we buy ends up being thrown away and most of this could have been eaten. It's not just peelings, cores and bones, but rather excess food from cooked meals, and food that ends up passing its use by date.

If we stopped wasting food which could have been eaten, it would have the same impact on reducing carbon emissions as taking 1 in 5 cars off UK roads.

Here are a few tips to being a smart shopper:

  • shop more carefully. Use a shopping list – only buy the things you really need (you'll save money too)
  • avoid over-packaging – Do you need to buy items individually wrapped? Is the wrapping made from recycled materials?
  • buy local produce where possible
  • avoid 2 for 1 offers – think, will you get through the additional product before it's use-by date?
  • look out for recycled products – toilet rolls, tissues, bin bags and paper products
  • buy refill items where possible – washing powders, fabric conditioners and refillable cartridges
  • take your own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket – the UK gets through 8 billion plastic bags every year
  • get a compost bin wormery to compost food scraps

There are more useful hints and tips from Love Food Hate Waste online.


Some charities collect old stamps to raise money. Try searching on the internet to see if your favourite charity runs a stamp collection scheme. If you cannot find a charity then send them to the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

RNIB Stamp Recycling
PO Box 185

They are collected in the office areas so keep an eye out.


All waste should be held in secure, designated areas. These areas must be secure and safe from unauthorised entry.

Hazardous and non-hazardous waste must not be mixed.

Takeaway food containers

If the container is made of plastic you can clean it and place it in your recycling. Polystyrene containers cannot be recycled. The best action for the environment is to find an alternative use for the containers such as storing small DIY parts.


Old-style TVs (CRT screens) are classified as hazardous waste and must be disposed of carefully.

Textile recycling

Your unwanted clothing and fabrics can be reused or recycled by donating at one of Westminster Council’s on-street Scope textile recycling bins. Place all your clothes, shoes, belts, bags, duvets, sheets, curtains and table cloths together in the bin, ensuring all material is clean. All items suitable for reuse will be sold at a scope charity shop in London and any items unsuitable for reuse will be recycled. Harrow has a TRAID textiles bin at the back of the halls in the car park.

See the list of textile recycling bank locations in Westminster.

Textiles are not accepted in mixed recycling bins. There is a scheme called Re-USE implemented on the University’s halls of residence where clothes and other unwanted items are collected for donation to charities at the end of the year.

Timber and wood

Wood skips are available at Harrow and Marylebone.


Call the sustainability team or contact the Waste Coordinator at [email protected], and ask about forthcoming opportunities.

Waste Hierarchy

You may know this better as ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. Organisations must also adhere to the waste hierarchy which means that waste reduction should take place before recycling is considered and recycling should take place before waste disposal. See the diagram below for more detail. All organisations must make efforts to segregate their waste where environmentally, economically and practicable to do so as this aids high quality material being produced for recycling.


There are many ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle water in the home:

  • keep a bottle of water in the fridge instead of running the tap until the water runs cold.
  • don't leave the tap running as you brush your teeth, wash your hands or shave.
  • have a shower instead of a bath.
  • put a 'hippo' or brick in your loo cistern to reduce the amount of water used with each flush.

Yellow pages

Please recycle yellow pages by putting in your nearest recycling bin.

Yoghurt pots

Yoghurt pots can be added to your mixed recycling. Please rinse to remove any residue from them before recycling. See also plastic.


Batteries have zinc in them – see batteries for how you can recycle them.