Waste and Recycling

What has changed in Waste?

In recent years, the pace of change within waste and recycling has been increasing with legislation being added and tweaked regularly.

In addition, being a public sector body we are legally obliged to follow public procurement tendering process which means that we periodically change supplier.

All this external change means that things also change within the University! We know it's hard to keep up sometimes so this is our attempt here within Waste & Recycling to help you to do this. We will regularly summarise what's changed in University policy and guidance here on this page. Please do keep checking.

Summer 2015 updates

New (highly anticipated) guidance on the classification and assessment of waste was released in June - bringing waste assessment in line with the CLP regulations. Our hazardous waste assessment guidance has now been updated as have the Waste Guidance Notes. Please do have a look at them and check whether they do or don't make sense! Let us know if not so that we can make improvements.

March 2015

It's been a long time since the last update. Quite a bit has changed in the interim and a fair bit of work has been done on the website to reflect this. The main changes are listed below along with links to the relevant parts of the website:

  • October 2014 - Guidance on the disposal of Controlled Drugs and Drug Precursor Chemicals has been produced.
  • October 2014 - New legislation has come into force encouraging the public to "carry a carrier" with them when they shop.
  • November 2014 - Guidance on how to reuse more has been generated and linked to WARPit - now available to all staff.
  • November 2014 - The University's new General Waste contract has been awarded to Biffa Waste Management.
  • December 2014 - Glass caddies have been rolled out across the estate now.
  • March 2015 - WARPit use has been extended to include PCs.
  • March 2015 - The home page has been rejigged to reflect our increased focus on reuse.
  • March 2015 - The "Posters and leaflets" section has been updated and old/out of date content removed with new leaflets added.

May 2014

News updates

We have been very busy recently reviewing performance data related to waste and recycling and analysing it in relation to different requirements. The most up to date report is now available within the resources section.

The Posters and Leaflets section has also been refreshed with new style posters now available for all current streams - including glass and food waste - and further information on what's accepted into each stream.

Stay tuned for our trial of bin lids for some of our Dry Recycling (orange lidded bins). We are still having problems with contamination of this stream. The message on the new lids should help to clarify that this stream is NOT suitable for food, liquids or paper towels.

Also stay tuned for a Guidance note on the disposal of Controlled Drugs and Drug Precursors. This will be relesased this month.

February 2014

News updates

Our new team member, Sandie Whigham started work in January and we are very happy to welcome her on board.

This month, we have extened the trial of our University reuse portal. We have commissioned WARPit, a portal used by a variety or Universities, Local Authorites and others around the UK. WARPit will help us to encourage, enable and track the reuse of key resources around the Unviersity community.

For more information about these areas, please have a look at the news section.

Finally, our new Waste & Recycling van arrived (finally) late last year. We are very excited since it's a hybrid (disiel, electric) van - the first in the University we believe. We have high hopes for reducing our transport carbon footprint!

Brand new A-Z

Waste and Recycling has been assisted by the Sustainability Office in revamping our search pages. The old A-Z has been replaced by new "How do I dispose of..." pages. The new section has been designed to be mobile friendly and incorporates a search box. If you cannot find what you want in the list, plug the word(s) into the search box.

Let us know if we've missed anything by emailing waste@ed.ac.uk.

What's on the horizon

There are a few things on the horizon over the coming months.

We are reviewing (and where necessary producing from scratch) guidance on a variety of disposal areas including waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), controlled drugs and drug precursors.

We are also tendering various waste disposal and recycling contracts - more information to follow.

Finally, the long awaited waste tracking software (Waste Data Live) which will replace WasteSys in the tracking of our more hazardous waste streams is on the verge of being ready for piloting. Stay tuned...

December 2013

News updates

Alot has changed in the last quarter.

There are news articles about emerging legislation such as the upcoming Single Use Bag levy and Scrap Metal. There is also information about the recycling of waste electricals and electronic equipment and about the Circular Economy.

Another exciting change is that the Waste & Environment Office recruited a new member of our team. Sandie Whigham will move over from Cleaning Services in the new year to become our new Waste Minimisation and Recycling Officer - welcome Sandie!

Our new A-Z is about to become live - more about that in the new year!

News updates

The Waste & Recycling Team has developed a Communications and Engagement Plan to describe and track how we are and will engage the University community following the planned changes and improvements that are taking place over 2013 and 2014.

An update to this plan has now been mounted on this website.

A lot of pages in the A-Z have had tweaks made to them recently including Wood, Sharps, Liquids, Glue, Paints and Batteries.

In response to demand, new pages have been added for Stones, Disks and data storage (now including information on videos, memory sticks and tapes) and Stationery.

What's on the horizon?

The wording on our waste flow charts (for laboratories and workshops) has been tweaked a bit in response to requests for clarification about items such as glass, etc. All links should now point to the new (September 2013) versions of these flow charts.

Glass recycling

The guidance on glass disposal has been updated. We have created a quick reference sheet to help you to work out if your glass is recyclable or not.

There are also now separate guidance notes on "glass for recycling" and "glass for disposal".

New producer forms

The Waste Producer Application forms for Healthcare, ABP and Radioactive Wastes have been re-developed ahead of the change over to the new Waste tracking system which will be brought in later in the year.

Please use these forms if you are registering for the first time or if you have to alter details associated with your account.

Recycling at Home

We are working in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, Changeworks and the City of Edinburgh Council to provide ideas and links for staff and students to recycle and and reuse more at home.

Healthcare Waste Guidance updated

WM2, the technical guidance used by producers of Healthcare Waste (hospitals, Universities, care homes, etc) has been updated. The third edition of this guidance was released in April 2013.

The guidance is available within the section on Assessment of Hazardous Properties for Laboratory Waste.

Earlier in 2013

Changes to Recycling

In preparation for the upcoming changes in legislation at the end of 2013, there have been a few changes in the streaming of waste at the University and there are likely to be others over time. A summary of the most important changes is outlined below:

  • Shared recycling bins will be rolled out across the estate during 2013. By the end of October 2013, staff and students in all academic and support buildings should have access to shared bins allowing them to recycle more easily.
  • We are now focussing on the quality of our recycling and on reducing contamination. In order for recyclable items (plastics, card, paper, metals) to be recycled, they must be CLEAN and DRY and importantly free from food.
  • Paper towels can no longer be recycled. Please place all paper towels and tissues in your nearest General Waste bin.

New Posters for our Shared Bins

With assistance from the Sustainability Office, we now have new posters for our shared recycling bins. These will be rolled out across the estate.

Recycling Posters