Bin confused? Let’s get it sorted!

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Sorting out your waste can be confusing. At City, University of London we use a waste contractor which may be different to the one your local council uses, even if you live in Islington. So here’s our handy guide on what should go in which bin while you’re here.


Mixed recycling bins

These are often green or blue-coloured bins.

You can recycle:

  • plastic bottles
  • paper and card
  • tins and cans
  • glass (as long as it’s not broken)

Where does it all go? Our mixed recycling is sorted off site.


Food waste bins

These are often brown-coloured bins.

You can use these for:

  • cooked and uncooked food
  • tea and coffee grounds

Where does it all go? Our food waste is treated off site to produce electricity and fertiliser.


General waste bins

These are often black-coloured bins.

You can use these for everything else! We’ve listed some “usual suspects” below, which often confuse people.

These all go in the general waste bins:

  • food contaminated items – these spoil the recycling materials, reducing the amount that can be recycled so please put them in the general waste
  • coffee cups – these cannot be recycled so must go in the general waste
  • wet paper towel and tissues
  • plastic film, crisp or sweet wrappers
  • plastic bags

Where does it all go?  General waste is incinerated off site.


Special items

There are a few things which can’t go in any of the above bins. Here’s our A-Z of special items and what you should do with them:

Anything which can be reused – Try advertising it on the Freebies, Sales and Wants Yammer group

Broken glass – put it in a box or wrap it carefully in a thick envelope clearly marked as ‘Broken Glass’. Call ext. 7777 to arrange a collection.

Batteries – please use one of the battery bins located at:

  • University Building (Level 1 main walkway, outside the Refectory)
  • Rhind Building (Ground floor, next to lifts)
  • Myddelton Street Building (Ground floor, reception area)

City-branded items – Got something which has the old City logo on it? Contact to recycle it.

Clothes – Clean clothes can be recycled in the clothes collection bin on the walkway. We send these to Traid for reuse.

Computers or other electrical equipment – To dispose of computers and laptops contact the IT Service Desk at who will arrange for the item to be collected and data cleansed. For all other electrical items, call ext. 7777 to arrange a collection.

Confidential waste – Large amounts of confidential waste should be disposed of in special ‘confidential’ bags which can be sealed and collected separately. Contact your local facilities team to arrange.

Furniture – Furniture should be reused wherever possible. Otherwise, please contact your local facilities team to arrange disposal. Furniture will generally be held in a central place for reuse, or donated to charities.

Printer and toner cartridges – At Northampton Square, all HP toner cartridges purchased through the Computer Shop should be returned to the Computer Shop for recycling.  All other cartridges should be collected in a special bag that can be acquired from These bags will hold around 15-50 cartridges, depending on their sizes. All other sites should contact their local facilities team on how best to dispose of cartridges.

Pens, highlighters, markers, correction tape and correction fluid – City is working in partnership with Terracycle to recycle writing instruments (excluding pencils) which will go towards raising money for WaterAid. Writing instruments can be recycled in the pen recycling bin located on the walkway.

Spectacles – Contact CitySight to recycle your spectacles.

Stamps – We don’t collect these centrally, but many individual departments have their own collections. Contact to find out where your nearest one is.


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