Waste and recycling

Did you know…?

Birmingham City University and the Waste Hierarchy

We have a target to increase the proportion of recycling by two per cent per annum from 2018-19 to 2023-24.

Find out how you can minimise your waste, increase recycling and dispose of waste ethically.


Recycling is great but not as good as preventing waste in the first instance! There is still energy involved in recycling our waste. Here’s a few simple ways you can make a difference:
  • Think before you print
  • Take a reusable cup or bottle with you (and fill up water on the go). Avoid a 20p charge on hot drinks by using your own cup.
  • Bring in reusable boxes to take food away on campus
  • Only buy what you need


We are working with our suppliers to minimise the amount of waste on campus, working with our caterers to reduce waste at the source, and finding opportunities for improvement to reduce general waste further.


Birmingham City University are working on a number of initiatives to help students re-use, repair and swap items. More information will be coming soon.

  • Check out the Swop Shop Events for students of the Birmingham School of Art.
  • To sell, swap or buy in Birmingham, check out the following page.
  • We also work with the British Heart Foundation who take donations of unwanted clothing, bedding, and kitchen-wear from our halls of residence (University Locks) during term-time. Contact your local accommodation reception team for more information.  


  • Recycle correctly. Put items in the right bins. Contaminated recycling bins cannot be recycled. 
  • Put leftover food in the food recycling bins
  • Remember, disposable cups, containers and utensils on campus cannot be recycled
  • Read our recycling myth buster to learn more about why certain items can't be recycled

The following items can currently be recycled across our campuses:


Batteries can be placed in the battery recycling points around the campuses, located in the building reception areas.


Empty tins and cans can be recycled in the relevant bins at any recycle point around the campuses.


Corrugated cardboard can be recycled. Please flatten boxes where possible, and store these by the recycling bins for collection.

Cardboard packaging (such as cereal boxes and tissue boxes) cannot be recycled and must be put into the general waste bins.

Food Waste

Food waste can be recycled in the Food Waste recycling bins (you can also put tea bags in here). This will be sent for Anaerobic Digestion and will produce energy. Please ensure that ONLY food waste goes into these bins (NO packaging).


For large projects, furniture will be redistributed and reused. Where possible, broken furniture is stripped and the metal and wood is sent for recycling. If there is unwanted furniture across the campuses that can be re-used, please contact the Help Desk.

Green Waste

This is recycled in the designated green waste bins.

Glass Bottles/ Jars

Glass recycling points are available for areas of the university with regular glass waste. For one off/irregular glass waste, please contact Help Desk and this will be moved to designated recycling points by Facilities Services. If you feel your department generates a large amount of glass waste, please contact the Help Deskand this will be looked into.


Paper can be recycled in the designated paper bins, and confidential waste in the confidential bins. Paper within confidential and paper recycling bins will be recycled.

Milk bottles and other plastic bottles

Milk bottles can be recycled. Please rinse and crush empty bottles to save space and put these in the plastic bottle recycling bins. All empty plastic bottles can be put in the designated plastic recycling bins across the campuses.


All metals can be recycled. All large scale requests can be addressed via the Help Desk.


Uniforms that have not been used can be kept within your department for re-use. For items that are no longer required, all logos MUST be removed first and can be collected by the British Heart Foundation. Call 0121 212 1192 to arrange a collection.


Wood can be recycled. Please put this in the designated skips. For other one off/irregular wood recycling needs. To order a wood skip, please contact the Help Desk.

Note – Disposable cups cannot be recycled on campus! In the UK, we waste around seven million disposable cups every day! Bring in a re-usable cup and avoid a 15p charge on hot drinks.

Energy Recovery

We are committed to sending zero waste to landfill, so all of our general waste is sent for energy recovery.

Disposal: The University is committed to managing its waste in such a way as to comply with all relevant legislation, ensuring our waste does not pose a hazard to human health or the environment.

Our Quality Control Officer conducts regular waste audits to find the best ways to improve our recycling efforts and engagement.

Further Guidance

We are working on an A-Z Waste and Recycling Guide which will describe where you can recycle, re-use or dispose of your waste safely and in harmony with the environment. This will be available soon.

We welcome all suggestions from staff and students on improving our reuse and recycling schemes. To get in touch, contact environment@bcu.ac.uk.