Waste Management

There are well equipped facilities for recycling of waste at KI. In addition to hazardous laboratory waste, there are in total 17 different sorting fractions for waste.

Each building has a fully equipped environment station and the most common fractions (recovered paper, paper, plastics and waste) shall be accessible on each floor.

From 1 January 2024, there will be a legal requirement to sort and recycle food waste for households and businesses. As a first step within KI, this will begin in Aula Medica on floors 6 and 7 as well as in the administration building starting on 4 September 2023. Read more in our news article and Q&A.

Correct sorting of waste makes it possible to recycle materials, which is a way for us at KI to reduce our environmental impact. By recycling the materials, we reduce the usage of land and energy as compared to the production of raw materials from forests (paper), mines (electronics) and oil (plastics).

Correct sorting of the waste depends on all of us. If too much waste is thrown in the wrong sorting bin, the contents will have to go to incineration, the material cannot be recycled and only the energy is recovered.

Instructions on how to sort your waste are outlined below. The same instructions can be downloaded and printed, see ”Documents”.

KI departments located at the Karolinska University Hospital are to follow their corresponding instructions.

You can reduce the amount of waste you produce by avoiding disposable products as well as products with double packages. Keep in mind, that from an environmental perspective it is better to re-use than to recycle.

Packages that consist of several material types shall, if possible, be taken apart. If this is not possible, sort the package according to the majority of the material. Fold and flatten in order to reduce the volume and minimize transports.

Sorting fractions at KI

Waste (combustible)

Waste (combustible) consists of material that cannot be reused or recycled other by recovering its energy content. The common denominator for (combustible) waste is that it burns without addition of fuel. The waste must also be possible to tear or crush.

Waste is an important commodity for the thermal plants. The energy is recovered from the waste and turned into long-distance heating.

Examples of waste (combustible), poster and sign:

  • Books with hard covers
  • Rags, dirty paper towels
  • Cleaning waste
  • Folders
  • Styrofoam
  • Dirty packages – if not possible to clean
  • Water-filled ice packs

N.B.1! Hazardous waste, sutch as light bulbs, electronics or scrap, must not be sorted as combustible waste. 

N.B.2! Furnitures/porcelain/caramics must be sorted as bulky waste/other waste.

Recovered paper

Recovered paper includes office paper, newspapers, magazines, brochures and other high quality paper. The recovered paper is sent to paper mills where it is turned into new paper. 

Examples of recovered paper, poster and sign:

  • Office paper
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Catalogues and adverts
  • Notepads
  • Paperback books 
  • Wrapping paper

N.B.1! Documents with confidential information should be handled as confidential waste.

N.B.2! Laminated paper is sorted as paper packaging. 

N.B.3! Post-it notes and envelopes are sorted as combustible waste.

Paper packaging

This is where you place paper packaging and thin cardboard. Remove other materials, for example plastic lids.

Used dairy packages and paper bags are turned into new cardboard or as surface on gipsum plates. Paper fibres are strong enough to be recycled up to 5-7 times. Once the fibres are worn out, the material is a valuable fuel.

Examples of paper, poster and sign:

  • Rinsed dairy paper packages
  • Thin cardboard
  • Paper bags
  • Disposable paper mugs/plates (provided that they are not too dirty)
  • Laminated paper packaging

N.B.! High quality paper (e.g. office paper) should be sorted as recovered paper to increase the yield of the recycling.

Confidential waste

Waste that contains identity information such as credit cards or receipts are considered confidential waste. Also hard drives, USB-devices and cell phones may contain sensitive information.

Exampels of confidential waste, poster and sign:

  • Confidential paper
  • Hard drives, USB-devices or other hardware.

N.B.! No other waste shall be sorted as confidential waste.

Confidential waste is collected by Reisswolf/Stena recycling. Use the form Nykundsblankett to create a new customer number that is connected to KI and send the form to reisswolf@stenarecycling.se.

Collection of bins can be on regular interval or single collection. This is decided when creating the customer number.

Corrugated cardboard

Corrugated cardboard is recognized by its wavy middle layer but all sorts of cardboard may be placed here. Remember to fold the cardboard so that it does not occupy unnecessary space or there will be extra transport costs as well as CO2 emissions. Remove materials that are not cardboard. Use the baler if there is one available.

Corrugated cardboard is baled and sent to cardboard plants where the material is dissolved and turned into paper pulp. The pulp is used to produce new cardboard/kraft paper/gypsum cardboard.

Example of corrugated cardboard, poster and sign:

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Thick cardboard
  • Brown kraft paper

N.B.1! Laminated paper and other paper packaging should be sorted as paper packaging. 

N.B.2! Dirty cardboard should be sorted as combustible waste. 

Plastic packaging

Soft and hard plastic packaging. Remove non-plastic caps and lids and sort them according to the type of material. 

Examples of plastic packaging, poster and sign:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic lids
  • Dairy packages made from plastics (rinse if possible)
  • Plastic canisters
  • Clean plastic jars
  • Empty pipette tip boxes
  • Pipette tips, disposable pipettes, tubes and other laboratory plastics that is NOT contaminated 
  • Plastic bags
  • Cellophane
  • Plastic files

N.B.1! Uncontaminated tips and pipets must first be put in a plastic bag or else it should be disposed of as laboratory waste. 

N.B.2! PET-bottles are sorted as deposit bottles and cans.

N.B.3! N.B.3! Plastics that are contaminated with biological agents, GMM or chemicals with the hazard pictograms "Acute toxicity", "Serious health hazard" and/or "Hazardous to the environment" cannot be recycled. Clean plastic with other hazard pictograms can be recycled if hazard pictograms are crossed over or removed before placed in a recycling bin. Instructions on how to handle such waste is provided at the page Laboratory waste, see Links. 

Deposit bottles and cans

Collection of deposit bottles and cans , the money will go to charity.

Examples of deposit bottles and cans, poster and sign:

  • PET-bottles
  • Aluminum cans
  • Everything with the “PANT” symbol

N.B.! No other waste can be put here!

Uncoloured glass

It is important to separate coloured glass from uncoloured glass. One coloured bottle will cause an entire load of uncoloured glass to be recycled as coloured glass which means that uncoloured glass must be produced from virgin material, resulting in higher energy consumption and more CO2 emissions.

Remove caps and lids and sort these according to their material. Rince the bottle or jar.

Example of uncoloured glass, poster and sign:

  • Uncoloured glass jars
  • Uncoloured glass bottles
  • Also broken glass of the categories above 

N.B.1! Laboratory glass made of borosilicate must be sorted as bulky waste/other waste or laboratory waste.

N.B.2! Glass that has contained hazardous waste must not be placed here. Glass labelled with "Acute toxicity", "Serious health hazard" and/or "Hazardous to the environment" must be handled as chemical waste. Clean glass with other hazard pictograms can be recycled if hazard pictograms are crossed over or removed before placed in a recycling bin. Instructions on how to handle such waste is provided at the page Laboratory waste, see Links.

N.B.3! Pasteur pipettes and object glasses must be sorted as ”Sharps/ infectious waste”, see document KI:s rules for laboratory waste.

N.B.4! Light bulbs and windowglass should not be placed here. Light bulbs are sorted as light sources, and windowglass as bulky waste. 

Coloured glass

When recycled glass is melted and turned into new glass there is a 20% reduction in energy consumption as compared to glass production from virgin material. The glass is recycled into new bottles and cans, glass wool and foam glass. One kilogram of recycled glass is turned into one kilogram of new glass. Glass can be recycled an unlimited number of times!

Remove caps and lids and sort these according to their material. It is good to rinse the bottle or the jar.

Examles of coloured glass, poster and sign:

  • Coloured glass jars
  • Coloured glass bottles
  • Also broken glass of the categories above

N.B.1! Laboratory glass made of borosilicate must be sorted as bulky waste/other waste.

N.B.2! You may not put glass that has contained hazardous waste here. Glass labelled with "Acute toxicity", "Serious health hazard" and/or "Hazardous to the environment" must be handled as chemical waste. Clean glass with other hazard pictograms can be recycled if hazard pictograms are crossed over or removed before placed in a recycling bin. Instructions on how to handle such waste is provided at the page Laboratory waste, see Links

N.B.3! Porcelain and cheramics cannot be recycled as glass. Pack the porcelain/cheramics to prevent people from cutting themselves, label with “broken porcelain/cheramics” and sort as bulky waste/other waste.

Light sources

At the treatment plant, the light sources are crushed and the different materials are separated. Glass and metal are recycled. The light powder in low energy lamps and fluorescent tubes contain mercury that is handled separately. For more information go to www.elkretsen.se

Examples of light sources, poster and sign:

  • Light bulbs
  • Mercury lamps
  • Low energy lamps
  • Halogen lamps
  • Curved fluorescent tubes
  • Small lamps
  • Vehicle lamps

N.B. Straight fluorescent tubes shall be sorted as fluorescent tubes.

BE CAREFUL– lamps that contain mercury should be handled with care to prevent them from breaking during the transport.

Fluorescent tubes

The entire recycling process of fluorescent tubes is automated and everything is recycled apart from the mercury which is deposited inside concrete shells. Read more on www.elkretsen.se.

Examples of fluorescent tubes, poster and sign:

  • Straight fluorescent tubes

BE CAREFUL – fluorescent tubes are classified as hazardous waste due their mercury content.


All types of electrical equipment belongs to this fraction. When disposing of electronic equipment that contain information (e.g. hard drives, USB-devices, memory cards, cell phones) it is necessary to delete all data. Contact your departments IT-support for help. 

Examples of electronic waste, poster and sign:

  • Everything with a cord or a battery
  • Microwave ovens
  • Keyboards
  • Cell phones and computers – remember to delete all information
  • TV-sets
  • Decontaminated laboratory instruments – with completed and signed decontamination sticker

N.B.! Bulky electronic waste such as refrigerators, freezers or other equipment that does not fit in the cage or that is too heavy for easy handling must be placed in a designated area and labelled with applicable ZZ-reference. Collection is ordered, and payed for, by the owner of the equipment.

Metal/metal packaging

Packages of metal and other metal items are to be discarded here. Cans that has contained paint can only be placed here under condition that they are empty and dry.

Metal packages are sorted by magnet separation. Recycling of, for example aluminum, saves 95 % of the energy required for the production of new aluminum.

Examples of metal packaging, poster and sign:

  • Cans
  • Tubes
  • Capsules and lids
  • Aluminum foil and other metal foil
  • Metal pods for coffee

N.B.1! ONLY EMPTY PACKAGES! Cans that contain solvents, glue or paint must be handled as hazardous waste.

N.B.2! Empty containers and spray cans must not be placed here. Sort as chemical waste. 

Small batteries

All types of batteries are to be collected due to the corrosive battery fluid which may pollute our environment. Collected batteries are sorted according to content, materials are separated and recycled as far as possible. Also the metal sheet around the batteries is recycled. The recovery rate depends on the type of battery. 98% of nickel-metal-hybrid batteries can be recycled. 

Examples of small batteries, poster and sign:

  • All household batteries, also lead- and mercury batteries

N.B.! Car batteries or other hazardous waste cannot be placed here.


Recycling of toners is usually done by the manufacturer. Toners are handled differently at different departments. Most often you can return the toner to the manufacturer where they are refilled and sold again.

Example of toners, poster and sign:

  • Empty toner cartridges from copying machines and printers (preferably in the original package in order to avoid spills and stains)

Bulky waste/other waste

This is where to put bulky waste and other waste such as porcelain/cheramics and laboratory glass made of borosilicate. Sort your waste well so as to produce as little other waste as possible. This waste is transported to treatment plans where the materials are sorted and recycled, energy recovered or deposited.

Bulky waste and furniture must be labelled with applicable ZZ-reference or it will not be collected.

Examples of bulky waste/other waste, poster and sign:

  • Bulky waste
  • Furniture
  • Porcelain/cheramics
  • Uncontaminated laboratory glass

N.B.1! You may not place hazardous waste, electronics, packages, magazines, household waste, food or construction waste here. 

N.B.2! Glass labelled with "Highly toxic", "Carcinogenic/Mutagenic" and/or "Environmentally toxic" must be sorted as chemical waste. See KI:s rules for laboratory waste.

Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap and cling film are used for making new soft plastic products. 

Examples of plastic wrap, poster and sign:

  • Transparant plastic wrap

N.B.! Colored or dirty plastic wrap is sorted as combustible waste.


General questions:

Erik Stenholm Coordinator
Safety unit
Telephon: 08-524 865 29
E-mail: erik.stenholm@ki.se

KI campus Flemingsberg:

Veolia: Tomas Arlinder, Miljövärd, 0704-67 07 34
KI-representant: Torgny Norén, 08-5248 65 40

KI campus Solna:

Liselotte Lööf Återvinning AB: Sebastian Lindroos, driftledare, 08 728 32 80, sebastian.lindroos@llbolagen.se 


More information for logged in staff

There is more information for those of you working in the following groups

  • C5.Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
  • H1.Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society
  • H5.Department of Laboratory Medicine
  • H7.Department of Medicine, Huddinge
  • H9.Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology
  • K2.Department of Medicine, Solna
  • UF.Professional Services
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