Waste and Recycling Types

Alongside our interactive A-Z of waste, We have a downloadable PDF of the A-Z below.


A: Aerosols, Aluminium Cans/Foil, Asbestos Waste, Appliances.



Ensure that your aerosol is completely empty before you decide to recycle it. Do not pierce, crush or flatten the aerosol before recycling. Detach any loose or easily removable parts, such as the lid, and dispose of them with the rest of your rubbish.

On Campus: Aerosols can be categorised as hazardous waste. Please DO NOT put aerosols into the bins, contact waste@reading.ac.uk for recycling information. This service may by chargeable to the department.

Off Campus: Check with your local council as some may permit empty household aerosols to be placed in the mixed recycling. Alternatively, take to your household waste recycling centre.

Aluminium Cans/Foil

Please wash out as best as you can before recycling and use the Mixed Recycling Bins. Its important to note that items such as crisp packets are not made of aluminium foil. Do the scrunch test Scrunch an item in your hand, if it springs back, it is not aluminium.   

Asbestos Waste

Check out the link for more information and to report any potential issues with asbestos on University property: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/health-andsafety/resources/hs-resources-asbestosawareness.aspx 


See Electrical Appliances.



B: Bins, Batteries, Books & Brochures, Box Files, Bottles, Bulbs, Bin Bags, Biological Waste, Bicycles.









Please DO NOT dispose of batteries in the General Waste Bins.

On Campus:  Send Dry- cell batteries to Battery Recycling- Post Room. All University departments can use this service free of charge for batteries owned by their department. For larger lead-acid batteries - contact us as : waste@reading.ac.uk and the Clean & Green team will collect them and arrange for their disposal. This service may be chargeable to the department.

Off Campus: You can recycle batteries at most larger shops, as if they sell batteries they should offer facilities for recycling old batteries.

Books & Brochures

Books should be offered for re-use, sold or recycled. Both can be placed in the Paper and Card Recycling bins.

Look out for these signs:

Box files

See Stationary. 


See Plastic Bottles or Glass Bottles

 Bulbs (lightbulbs)

See also Fluorescent Tubes and Projector bulbs

Do not recycle lightbulbs in glass recycling as they are made from a different type of glass and also contain metal parts.

Old style bulbs (i.e. non-energy saving bulbs, non-halogen bulbs) are NOT recyclable. Please dispose of in the General waste.

On Campus Only:

If you have large quantities of these of any type please check with waste@reading.ac.uk for any more details.  

Bin Bags

On Campus: Black plastic bags are used at the University for general waste. Clear plastic bags are used at the University for recycling- this is so that we can see what is being put in the recycling. If you require any black or clear bin bags (e.g. you are having an office clear out and will be generating large quantities of waste) please contact Cleaning Services to obtain these. For which them may be a charge.

Off Campus: Please check with your local council whether you need to use a particular colour bag for your general waste or recycling.

Biological Waste

On Campus:  Please contact the Technician or person responsible in your area, for disposal of biological waste.


On Campus:  Please contact trevel@reading.ac.uk for advice on bicycles owned by the University.

Off Campus: Even if your bike is in bad condition, it could still be reused. Some organisations (Re-Cycle) take old bikes and refurbish them for charity or community projects. Sell it! Try advertising on the University notice boards or in local papers.


C: Cardboard, CDs, Chemicals, Cling film, Clothes & Textiles, Confidential, Catalogues, Cables, Clinical, Cooking Oil, Coffee Grounds & Tea Bags, Crisp Packets.



There are Paper and Card recycling bins inside and outside most University buildings. Some bins also take paper and card in the Mixed Recycling Bins.

Look out for these symbols.

CDs, DVDs, Disks & Tapes

CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes and floppy disks unfortunately cannot be recycled. Please place non-confidential items in to the general waste bins.

On Campus only: To dispose of other kinds of media e.g. cassettes, floppy disks or CDs and DVDs which contain confidential information email waste@reading.ac.uk for collection details. This service is chargeable to the Department.


On Campus: A 6- monthly bulk collection of chemical waste is arranged around Easter and again during August, when departments can submit their collective waste products for disposal. Careful identification and listing is a requirement of this service. The cost of the service is charged back to departments according to the types and quantities of waste involved.  If you require an urgent collection, or have items which cannot wait until the next bulk collection please email waste@reading.ac.uk.

Off Campus: Check if disposal instructions are provided on the container. Most items will need to be taken to your local household waste recycling centre.

Cling film

Cling film is non-recyclable, please place in the General Waste bins.

Clothes & Textiles

On Campus: It is not anticipated that the University will produce many clothes or textiles. Donations (e.g. to charities) may be possible subject to permission being granted from the Procurement Department.

Off Campus: For students living in halls of residence, there may be textile and clothing recycling bins provided for your use. Otherwise, recycling points are commonly found at large supermarkets.

Confidential Waste Papers

Confidential waste paper is shredded and recycled. All confidential waste paper should be placed in Select sacks (or a datasafe console if you have one); empty confidential waste sacks can be requested by completing the e-form at the bottom of the waste disposal page here (preferred method) or email waste@reading.ac.uk (Staff in Whiteknights House please email postroom@reading.ac.uk). Only fill the sacks with paper up to the line. Plastic covers, comb bindings, lever arch/ring binders and metal bindings must be removed (although staples and paper clips are acceptable in small quantities).

When bags are nearly full, fill in the online disposal form here to request collection (preferred method) or email waste@reading.ac.uk.


Catalogues (and brochures) can be placed in the Paper and Card Recycling bins.


On Campus: Please DO NOT put cables into general waste bin. Please submit a disposal request via the online disposal form- Here. This service may be chargeable to the Department.

Off Campus: Please take these to your local household waste recycling centre.

Clinical Waste

Clinical waste is any waste which poses a threat of infection to humans. The term also includes drugs or other pharmaceutical products.

On Campus Only: Clinical waste should be placed into the yellow containers designed especially for the containment and disposal of waste that is hazardous to health in order to minimise risks. This service is chargeable to the Department. Please DO NOT put any clinical waste into your recycling or general waste bins.

Contact waste@reading.ac.uk for the provision of additional clinical waste containers.

Cooking Oil

Waste cooking oil should be stored in drums with a securable lid to prevent spills. These are then collected and disposed of by university approved waste contractors. waste@reading.ac.uk for more details.

Coffee Grounds & Tea Bags

On Campus: Coffee grounds from the main catering outlets are collected for anaerobic digestion (re-cycled) to make electricity and fertiliser. In all other areas where food recycling facilities do not exist, they should be put in the General Waste bins.

Off Campus: Coffee grounds and tea bags can be recycled in your food waste caddy, if your council provides this service. Otherwise, try composting them, using the coffee grounds as mulch in the garden or dispose of in the general waste.

Crisp Packets

Crisp packets are non-recyclable, please place in the General Waste bins.


D: Directories, Drinks Cans, DVD's.



Directories can be placed in the Paper and Card Recycling bins.  

A pile of paperback catalogues, isolated on a white background

Drinks Cans

Can be recycled - Please rinse as best you can and dispose of drinks cans in the Mixed Recycling Bins.


See CDs, DVDs, disks and tapes.

E: Electrical Appliances, Envelopes.


Electrical Appliances

On Campus: For University owned items please submit a disposal request via the online disposal form- Here. The Clean and Green team will collect and recycle these items. This service may be chargeable to the Department.

Off Campus: If you are a student living in Halls of residence, collection points may be provided for your use. Otherwise, items should be recycled at your local Household waste recycling centre.


On Campus: Reuse envelopes wherever possible especially for internal mail. Or place them in the Paper and Cardboard bins.

Off Campus: Remove the stamps and collect them for charities who sell them on to raise money for their cause.


F: Fluorescent Tubes & Projector Bulbs, Fridges & Freezers, Furniture, Fly-tipping, Folders, Food Waste.


Fluorescent Tubes & Projector Bulbs

On Campus: Fluorescent light tubes and Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or low-energy bulbs, as well as bulbs from projectors, are classified as hazardous waste. Don not place these in recycling or general waste bins. Please email waste@reading.ac.uk for collection. This service may be chargeable to the Department.

Off Campus: Some larger supermarkets offer recycling points for household fluorescent (energy saving) bulbs. Otherwise take them to your local household waste recycling centre.

Fridges & Freezers

On Campus: These are classed as a type of hazardous waste and must be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. Fridges and freezers must be cleaned and decontaminated before collection in such a way as to remove or render harmless any:

  • Microbiological agents
  • Chemical compounds
  • Biochemical compounds
  • Radio-active compounds
  • Hazardous substances.

Collection and disposal of fridges & freezers is a chargeable service. Please submit a disposal request via the online disposal form here.

Off Campus: Your local council may be able to arrange a bulky waste collection from your doorstep, or alternatively take to your local household waste recycling centre.


On Campus: If you have any unwanted furniture that is in good working order please offer it for re-use via Warp-it. Charges may apply for items which cannot be re-homed, please refer to the Warp-it guide on the Clean and Green webpage for further information.

If your furniture is not in good working order and requires disposal, a disposal request can also be made using the Warp-it site. The Porters will then collect and recycle. This service is chargeable to the Department.

Off Campus: Some charities run charity furniture shops which welcome donations of furniture in good condition. Otherwise, furniture could be offered for re-use on community groups such as freecycle. If it cannot be re-homed, it should be taken to the local amenity tip.


It is illegal to fly-tip any waste, and fines can be as high as £20,000 and even imprisonment. If you see fly-tipping anywhere at the University, please report it to waste@reading.ac.uk.


Reuse! see Stationary

Food Waste

On Campus: Food waste is collected from all major food outlets at the University is recycled by the University’s approved contractor at an Anaerobic Digestion Plant.

Off Campus: Your local council may offer a kerbside food waste collection.

G: Green Waste, Glass.


Green Waste

The University composts most of its green waste for reuse cross the grounds of the estate.


On Campus: widely recycled - Glass bottles and jars should be rinsed and any tops or corks removed before recycling. The locations of glass bin can be found: http://www.reading.ac.uk/cleanandgreen/recyclingandwaste/ 

Contact waste@reading.ac.ukfor the disposal of large amounts of non-recyclable or broken glass.

Look out for these recycling bins:


Off Campus: Some councils will collect glass bottles and jars as a kerbside service. Bottle banks are also frequently located at large supermarkets or public spaces.




H: Hazardous Waste.


Hazardous Waste

Includes but is not restricted to the following; fluorescent tubes/light bulbs, electrical equipment, fridges, freezers and refrigeration units, pressurised containers including aerosols or fire extinguishers, oils of various types, heavy metals (mercury, cadmium etc.), various chemicals (e.g. cleaning chemicals or laboratory chemicals), drugs, batteries, IT equipment and WEEE (waste electric and electrical equipment).

As well as correctly identifying and handling hazardous waste information about wastes that are going for disposal. It is equally vital that the University only work with properly licensed waste operatives and carriers. Contact waste@reading.ac.ukor disposal information, or for safety guidance on handling hazardous waste contact Health and Safety on 8888.


I: IT Waste, Ink Cartridges.


IT Waste

On Campus: All IT equipment, mobile phones and other data bearing devices are recycled through a contractor who strips down each item to recycle the individual parts. Any data holding components are securely destroyed in line with University data protection policies.

To dispose of your IT equipment, please submit  disposal request via Warp-it to arrange disposal.  

Off Campus: The University does offer a specific service for staff and students to securely dispose of personally owned IT equipment and mobile phones.

Ink Cartridges

Recycled - See Printer/Photocopier Consumables.



L: Landfill, Light Bulbs.



Landfilling waste is harmful to the environment as it represents a waste of valuable resources, generates greenhouse gases and can degrade the surrounding environment. Wherever possible, the University diverts waste from landfill (ideally through reducing waste, re-using items, recycling items). Most of the general waste at the University is sent for energy recovery.

Under the European Landfill Directive we have to significantly reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill or face large fines.

Light Bulbs

For incandescent and halogen bulbs, see Bulbs

For energy saving and projector bulbs, see Fluorescent Tubes & projector bulbs



M: Medicines, Metal, Microwaves, Mobile Phones, Monitors & TVs



See Clinical Waste.



Smaller items can be placed in the Mixed Recycling Bins.

On Campus: Larger items can be taken away for recycling - please submit a disposal request via the online disposal form- Here.


Classed as hazardous waste under the Hazardous Waste Directive, See WEEE for more details.

Mobile Phones

See IT Waste.

Monitors & TVs

Recycled - but classed as hazardous waste under the Hazardous Waste Directive.

Due to the large amount of lead and phosphorus tubes in CRT monitors they are classified as hazardous waste and are therefore recycled in the different way to LCD and TFT monitors. With the exception of the phosphors in the tube, every single part can be reused or recycled.

With the exception of the Liquid Crystal Substrate, all other elements of the LCD Monitors and Televisions can be recycled.

See IT Waste


N: Nappies, Needles, Newspapers.



On Campus:  Small amount of nappies can be placed in general waste bins. However for frequent disposals please contact: waste@reading.ac.uk

Off Campus: To help to reduce the total amount of waste going to landfill. Why not try reusable nappies- http://www.goreal.org.uk/


On Campus: These should be placed in yellow sharps boxes for clinical waste disposal.

Also see Clinical waste.



Recycled - see Paper and Cardboard.



O: Oil, Ovens.



The storage of large amounts of oil is required to comply with legislation to prevent pollution. Small amounts of oil can also cause harm to the environment if spilt or poured down the drains.

On Campus: All waste oils except edible oil are deemed hazardous under Hazardous Waste Regulations. To dispose of any type and quantity of oil please contact: waste@reading.ac.uk. Waste oil containers should be sealed and stored securely. Large amounts of oil should be contained in double skinned containers with a big enough bund to contain 110% of the maximum capacity.

Off Campus: Waste oil can be taken to your local household waste recycling centre.


Ovens are classed as hazardous waste under the Hazardous Waste Directive.See WEEE for more details. 


P: Plastic Bottles & Containers, Paper Cups, Paints, Paper & Card, Paper Towels & Serviettes, Phones, Phone Books, Printer Cartridges, Packaging, Printers.


Plastic Bottles & Containers

with these codes:

e.g. plastic bottles, yoghurt pots, salad pots and some plastic cups.

Recycled- Placed in the Mixed Recycling Bins.

Please empty and rinse before placing in recycling bins.

Paper Cups

‘Paper’ drink cups are sadly not recycled anymore because there is usually too much contamination associated with them (e.g. drink residues, tea-bags etc).

Please place in General Waste bins.


Paints are deemed hazardous waste under the Hazardous Waste Regs.

On Campus: Empty tins containing residues only should be left open to completely dry, then they may be disposed of in the general waste bins.

Contact waste@reading.ac.uk to arrange collection of full or partly full tins.

Paper & Card Recycling

There are Paper and Card recycling bins inside and outside most university buildings. Where a paper and card bin is not available, paper and card may be placed in the Mixed Recycling.

Look out for these symbols and bins:


On Campus Only: Don’t put too many heavy items in these bins - contact waste@reading.ac.uk for bulk collections.

Paper Towels & Serviettes

Cannot be recycled- Please place these in the general waste bins.

Phones – Desk phones

On Campus Only: Desk phones are deemed WEEE – please submit a disposal request via the online disposal form - Here.

Mobile phones are classed as IT waste due to their data storing capacity.

Phone Books

Recycled- Phone Books can be placed in the Paper and Card Recycling bins.

Printer/Photocopier Cartridges & Consumables

On Campus Only:

Photocopier Consumables: The University has negotiated with Konica Minolta a recycling scheme for all the consumable components in their printers and photocopiers. This includes all toner bottles and imaging drums. This services is free of charge.

When replacing the consumable, the old item should be placed inside the packaging that the new one came in. This should then be placed in the Konica Minolta recycling box which are in most foyers, Porters Lodges and departments. Email waste@reading.ac.uk if the box needs exchanging for an empty one, or if you would like a box in your area.

All other printer cartridges: Can also be recycled free of charge. Please place the old component into the plastic bags and cardboard box that the new one came in. secure the outer box, label it print cartridge recycling and send it to the Postroom in Whiteknights house.

Off Campus:  Some charities collect empty ink cartridges for recycling.

Packaging waste

Bubble Wrap and Expanded Polystyrene cannot be recycled at the University please place in the General waste bins.  

Cardboard can be recycled in the Paper and Card Recycling bins.

Please remove excessive tape and plastic wrapping before recycling.


See IT Waste.



R: Recycling Collections, Radioactive Waste, Rubber Bands.


Recycling Collections

Waste doesn’t hang around long! Collections are carried out daily across the university estate. Mixed recycling, paper and cardboard, food waste and general waste have fixed regular collection times.

Glass, wood, metal, WEEE and hazardous waste are all collected as and when required.

Radioactive Waste

On Campus Only: You may only dispose of radioactive waste within the terms of the authorisation from the Environment Agency - please contact the Radiation Safety Officer on extension 8887.

Rubber Bands

You can reduce the number of bands we need to purchase each year by simply returning your bands in an envelope marked Rubber Bands - Post Room.

S: Shoes, Stationery, Skips, Symbols, Sharps.



See Clothes and Textiles.



Please reuse stationery wherever possible.

On Campus: It can also be advertised for re-use to the rest of the University on the Re-use Portal known as Warp-it.


If your department is clearing redundant equipment, furniture etc you may want to hire a skip. Charges for this service can change quickly, but we will give you a current estimate when you apply.

Note that certain items are not permitted in skips, and some items will require their own dedicated skips. Please contact waste@reading.ac.uk for further information.

Symbols - recycling

Recycling symbols can be confusing! Check out this like to shed some light on the subject: http://www.recyclenow.com/why_recycling_matters/recycling_symbols.html


See Clinical Waste.


T: Textiles, Televisions, TetraPak, Tyres, Toner Cartridges, Tin Cans.



See Clothing and Textiles.



See Monitors and TVs.

Tetra Pak

Tetra Paks and food cartons sadly cannot be recycled as they are a composite material consisting of card, plastic and aluminium foil, which the recycling centres cannot split apart at the moment. Please place in the general waste bins.


EU Landfill Directive introduced a ban on whole tyres being landfilled in July 2003* and a ban on shredded tyres to landfill came into force in 2006.

On Campus: Tyres from personal vehicles should not be disposed of at the University or Hall of Residences. Please contact waste@reading.ac.uk for disposal advice for tyres from University activities.

Off Campus: For disposal advice on tyres from personal vehicles, consult your local council.

This does not include bicycle tyres

Toner Cartridges

See Printer/Photocopier cartridges and consumables.

Tin Cans

These are made of steel or aluminium which are 100% recyclable and can be reprocessed again and again without loss of quality.

Please dispose of rinsed out tin cans in the Mixed Recycling bin.


W: Washing Machines, WEEE, White Goods, Wood.


Washing Machines


See also White Goods.


The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came into force in January 2007 and aim to reduce the amount of this waste going to landfill and improve recovery and recycling rates. Around 1 million tonnes are generated every year. Items such as kitchen appliance, mobile phones, computer, TVs, electrical; and electronic tools can all be either recycled or reused.  

All WEEE items that are powered by the mains or by batteries to carry out their primary function should not be disposed of in the general waste.

On Campus: Please submit a disposal request via Warp-it to arrange disposal. WEEE waste can also be deemed as hazardous waste i.e. fridges and freezers, CRT screens and batteries. These items need to be stored safely and securely to prevent pollution in line with the Hazardous Waste Regulations and to prevent risk to health.

Off Campus: Electrical items can usually be disposed of at your local household waste recycling centre. Your local council may also provide a bulky waste collection (e.g. for white goods).

Important Symbols


Every piece of electrical or electronic equipment that was made on or after the 13th August 2005 is required to have the crossed out wheelie bin symbol and date mark clearly displayed either on the product itself or the packaging. This product should not be disposed of in the general waste bin.

This symbol indicates that a product contains batteries and should not be disposed of with general waste.

White Goods

Include fridges, freezers, cookers, washing machines and dishwashers. See WEEE.


Solid Wood - Recyclable!                  MDF or Laminate - nonrecyclable.

On Campus: If your department has any solid wood to be disposed of: - pallets or broken furniture – this will be recycled by the Porters. Please submit a disposal request via Warp-it to arrange disposal.

Chipboard, MDF or laminate, is not recycled. Please submit a disposal request via Warp-it to arrange disposal.

Off Campus: Wood can usually be recycled at your local household waste recycling centre. However some charities accept donations of wood for social enterprise projects or broken wooden furniture to repair (e.g www.oxfordwoodrecycling.org.uk).






If you have any queries about the content of this document or require any further information about how to deal with waste please contact: waste@reading.ac.uk.