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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 can you 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 and used to produce energy.

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.


Use 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


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

Anything that has a plug, uses batteries or needs charging is known as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and should not be put in the bin when broken or no longer wanted.

These types of items often have the following WEEE logo on them.

Old electronics contain toxic substances that pose a significant risk to human health and the environment. If they are disposed of incorrectly and end up in landfill, these chemicals leach into the ground and can be transported across international boundaries, far from their sources, and they persist in the environment causing long term damage.

There have also been increasing numbers of fires starting in waste transfer stations after batteries have been disposed of incorrectly, become damaged and leaked their hazardous contents into the highly combustible waste pile. These things not only endanger the environment but also the lives and health of those working on or living near these sites.

Aside from environmental arguments, many old IT items contain personal and business information we want to keep safe, so we need to dispose of these items correctly to ensure this data is not inadvertently leaked.

WEEE logo. Depicts a black wheelie bin symbol with a black cross through it.

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: 84929 or 85368).
  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.
  6. 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.

Our porters collect hundreds of these bags each week. Although 15kg does not sound very much, when you carry many in one day, it adds up. Our porters will not collect overweight sacks. You will need to put some of the material into extra sacks, and you will be charged accordingly.