Recycling at Queen Mary University

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Ever wondered what happens to your waste here at Queen Mary?  Well, we work with Bywaters, who work to process all of our waste.  

Here’s a helpful breakdown of what they do with our waste once it leaves campus... 



General Waste  

This is taken to Cory incinerator via barge for energy recovery and ash is added to building materials such as bricks and concrete. 


This is transferred to Bywater’s facility at Lea Riverside. The waste is segregated into cardboard, different types of plastics, glass and metals. Segregated materials are then passed to specialised facilities for further processing and reuse. 

Food Waste  

Food waste is taken to Bywater’s partner company Bio Collectors anaerobic digestion plant in south London. The process breaks the waste down into biofuel and fertiliser, which is then sold to the local farmers. 


Glass is taken to Bywater’s facility at Lea Riverside where it’s cleaned, crushed and passed to building companies to be used as road aggregate. 


Oil is collected by Bywater’s partner company Olleco and then processed and turned into biofuel. 


Check out the Bywaters Waters Materials Recovery Facility in this video.  


Tips and tricks for keeping our bins contamination free 

  • Always wash your containers before recycling and make sure they are free of liquid and residue  

  • Separate your coffee cups, lids and liquid into our coffee cups recycling stations, found in Ground Cafe and the Union Shop.  

  • Make use of the battery recycling found at the Students’ Union Hub and Qmotion receptions and BLSA.  

  • Separately recycle electronics, batteries, pens and soft plastics – look up the item you want to recycle at to find out where your nearest recycling point is. 

  • If in doubt, look at the recycling symbols at, or ask! 

  • Make sure to keep your bottle tops screwed onto your bottles to recycle but remove the plastic label and dispose of it in the normal waste bins. 

  • Make sure to remove plastic films e.g., on fruit containers – these are not recyclable! 


Both the University and Student’s Union use Bywaters across all sites, taking a unified approach to Queen Mary’s waste management. Whilst we try to recycle as much waste as possible, there is always more to be done, so we are working hard to optimise and maximise our waste recycling.  




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