Sustainable Campus



Many waste streams can be recycled across our campus.

General waste

We provide paper, can and plastic recycling bins in all of our buildings.

For a full list of what can (and can't) be recycled, take a look at our recycling posters and at our Waste A-Z.

What happens to recycling

Our recycling waste is removed from Campus by a contractor and taken to a local Material Recovery Facility (MRF). At the MRF, the cans, plastics and paper are sorted and graded into different categories. They are then bailed and passed on to processing plants.

It is very important that the recycling stream does not contain food waste or non-recyclables. This can result in large volumes of waste becoming contaminated and no longer suitable for recycling.

Food waste

Food waste is collected in the green bins in offices and kitchens across campus.

Newcastle University produces approximately 1 tonne of food waste every week.

What you can put in food waste bins

All food waste items can be put in the bins, including:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • fruit peel
  • vegetable peel
  • sandwiches
  • meat: raw or cooked
  • fish: raw or cooked
  • dairy
  • tea bags and coffee grounds
  • chocolate

Don't put liquids in the bins. They cause a mess when the cleaning team empty the bins.

Don't put compostable coffee cups, cutlery, plates or packaging in the bins. These materials cannot break down in the anaerobic digestion process, and must be separated from food waste before putting it in the bin.

What happens to food waste

Food waste is collected by a contractor and taken to a local anaerobic digestion facility. When the waste arrives at the facility, the plastic bags we put the food waste in are mechanically removed from the material. This small amount of plastic waste is then sent to an Energy from Waste plant where it is combusted.

The food waste is transferred to large air-free digestion tanks where the natural biological process of anaerobic digestion takes place. In the tanks, billions of bacteria ‘feed’ on the food waste. As they feed, they produce a methane rich ‘biogas’. The biogas is used for heating and to produce electricity for the National Grid.


Using wheelie bins and skips for larger quantities of waste.

Paper clear-outs

If you want to dispose of a large volume of publications, leaflets, magazines and paper waste, do not place them in the office paper recycling bins. The bins can get very heavy and unmanageable for the cleaners.

Instead you should carry out a paper clear-out as follows:

  • order the number of bins you need by submitting a porter request via Planon - Service 'Waste removal - Paper waste', add in the comment box that you need '360L wheelie bins for waste paper clear outs'
  • porters will deliver the bins three to five days after you submit the request
  • when the bin is two-thirds full, submit another porter request as above and add the Service 'Waste removal - Paper waste' and add a comment that the bins are full for disposal.

Display our Paper Recycling poster (PDF: 463Kb) next to your paper bin to show what can be recycled.


For larger clear-outs, you can hire a skip for a single waste stream. For example, you would hire a skip for paper, glass or wood. The prices for these skips are reduced as the contractor does not need to separate the waste for recycling.

The smaller 8 and 12 cubic yard skips are not covered, so they can only be used in secure yards or compounds.


Electrical waste

WEEE: Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

The external contractor who recycles the University's IT equipment wipes data before re-use. However, we would still recommend that you wipe confidential data before they collect your hardware.

If you are arranging for collection of equipment that may be contaminated, you must complete the Decontamination of Lab Equipment Form. Print it out and attach it to the equipment. If you have several small pieces of equipment, you can also print and use the Decontamination Declaration labels (PDF:35KB).

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

IMPORTANT: Keep your waste within the producing school or unit. You must not leave it in corridors, building entrances, or any areas that block access routes or fire exits.

Confidential waste

Most of our confidential waste is paper-based, such as examination papers and scripts or personnel records. However, you may need to dispose of non-paper waste such as CDs and floppy discs.

Paper waste

If you've already shredded your confidential paper waste, you do not need to dispose of it in the confidential waste sacks. Instead, use the standard paper recycling bins or give full bags to your cleaner.

There are two ways to dispose of non-shredded confidential paper waste:

Non-paper waste

If you have CDs or other storage media containing confidential information, you can dispose of them using the confidential waste sacks. The charge per sack is £10. You must make clear on the purchase requisition that you are disposing of CDs or floppy discs.

To use the sack system:

  1. Fill out an internal purchase requisition.
  2. E-mail or scan a copy of the requisition to and (ext: 86629 or 85631).
  3. Fill the bags with confidential waste to the specified line.
  4. Once a sack is full, seal it with the provided security tag.
  5. Request a collection from the portering team by completing a Planon request.

Ensure the sacks are kept securely until the collection.

Sacks should not weigh more than 18kg. Even though they have a marked 'fill line', they can very quickly become heavy before reaching this line. As a guide, 15kg is the weight of a standard box of A4 paper.