Waste collection

As a university, we consider sustainability very important. That is why we separate waste in (all) our university buildings. The better we do this, the more waste we can reuse or recycle, and the less (residual) waste we have to incinerate. Ultimately, this leads to fewer CO2 emissions, which fits in with the university's sustainability ambitions. UU's ultimate goal is zero waste operations by 2030.

How do we separate waste?

Using special waste bins, we separate the following waste streams:

  • Paper
  • Fruit, vegetable and food waste
  • Plastic and beverage cartons
  • Residual waste
Four round stickers with pictograms for clean and dry paper, organic waste, plastic and drinking cartons, and general waste

What belongs where?

It can sometimes be confusing what kind of waste belongs in which bin. Below you can read which waste you can put in each waste stream.


The paper waste stream seems very obvious, but this is not always the case. This is because by paper we mean clean paper. What is clean paper? That is, for example, envelopes, newspapers, leaflets, paper with printed text, books, etc. When is paper no longer clean? A good example is a pizza box. An unused pizza box is still clean and can be disposed of as waste paper. But as soon as it has pizza grease on it, it is no longer 'clean paper' and must therefore be disposed of with residual waste. The same applies to kitchen paper, for example. In principle, you can throw away a full roll of kitchen paper as paper. But do you use a roll of paper to clean up your spilled drink? Then it is no longer clean and must therefore be disposed of with residual waste.

Fruit, vegetable and food waste

Anything related to kitchen waste, such as food waste and peelings, is allowed in this bin. Fruit, vegetable and food waste is organic waste that forms the basis for compost. It is therefore very important to separate it properly.

Plastic and Beverage Cartons

Formerly Plastic, Metal and Beverage Cartons has now changed to Plastic and Beverage Cartons only. In this waste stream, you may dispose of beverage cartons (such as a packet of apple juice or yoghurt drink) and plastic. Metals, for example a can of drink, belong in general waste.

Why do we separate plastic and drinking cartons but no longer separate metals?

In early 2023, for companies and organisations, the composition of the waste stream 'Plastic, Metal and Beverage Cartons' changed to Plastic (packaging) and Beverage Cartons. Metals (e.g. cola cans) are no longer included here, as there is a deposit on beverage cans from April 2023. Cans, which were previously also allowed in PMD, will now go back to residual waste. These metals are recovered after incineration of the residual waste.

General waste

The last stream we have is general waste. Anything that does not belong in another waste stream is allowed in the general waste. We try to limit the general residual waste stream as much as possible because, unfortunately, it cannot always be recycled. This means that the waste is either landfilled or incinerated. Which, of course, is very bad for the environment.

What can you do yourself to reduce waste?

We hope that as a student or employee, you will want to help us dispose of waste in the best way possible. But of course, you can also choose to produce less waste! You can do this in several ways, for example:

  • Print as little as possible.
  • Buy things unpackaged as much as possible.
  • Use less paper towels to dry your hands. If you shake well, you can make do with just one paper towel.
  • Use a sustainable drinking bottle. It takes as much as one litre of water and one litre of oil to produce a disposable plastic bottle.
  • Try to use as little food packaging as possible. Take a bread bin, for example! Or buy a reusable plastic cup you can take yoghurt in instead of buying a small plastic yoghurt container.