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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.

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) 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, poster and sign:

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

N.B.! Hazardous waste must not be sorted as waste. This includes light bulbs, electronics, iron and scrap.

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. One ton of recovered paper saves 14 trees. Apart from reducing the forest devastation, the production of paper from recovered paper demands less energy as compared to paper production from wood pulp.

Examples of recovered paper, poster and sign:

  • Office paper
  • Newspapers ad magazines
  • Catalogues and adverts
  • Notepads
  • Pocket books
  • Envelopes without plastic windows
  • Wrapping paper

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

N.B.! Laminated or waxed paper should not be sorted as recovered paper as it is not possible to recycle.


This fraction should really be called ”Paper Packaging” but there is not enough room on the recycling bins. 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
  • Paper bags
  • Disposable paper mugs/plates (provided that they are not too dirty)

N.B.! Plastics and styrofoam shall not be placed here. 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 IL recycling. Use the form under “Documents” to create a new customer number that is connected to KI and send the form to

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 waste that can be sorted as cardboard, poster and sign:

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Thick cardboard
  • Brown kraft paper
  • Laminated or waxed cardboad
  • Thin cardboard/ paper packages (may also be sorted as paper)
  • Dirty cardboard

N.B.! Plastics or styrofoam cannot be sorted as corrugated cardboard. High quality paper (for example office paper) should be sorted as recovered paper in order to maximize the benefits of recycling.


Plastics are recycled and turned into new plastic. In order to maxmize the benefits of recycling it is best to separate hard plastics from soft plastics. If this is not possible (due to limited space) all plastic can be put in this fraction. Remember to remove parts that are not made out of plastics and sort these according to the material it is made from.

Examples of plastics, 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, eppendorf tubes, falcon tubes and other laboratory plastics that is NOT contaminated with biological agents, GMM or chemicals labelled with the symbols for “Highly toxic”, “Carcinogenic/Mutagenic” and/or “Environmentally toxic”.

N.B.! Plastics that is contaminated with biological agents, GMM or chemicals with the symbols below cannot be recycled. Instructions on how to handle such waste is provided in KI:s rules for laboratory waste.

Return bottles

It is possible to arrange collection of return bottles, the money will go to charity.

Examples of return bottles, poster and sign:

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

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
  • Clean and non-contaminated laboratory glassware

N.B.! Glass is partly manually sorted. Glass that has contained hazardous waste must not be placed here. Glass labeled with the symbols below cannot be recycled and must be handled as chemical waste, see KI:s rules for laboratory waste.

N.B.2! Pasteur pipettes and object glasses must be sorted as ”Sharps/ infectious waste”, see document KI:s rules for laboratory waste.

N.B.3! Light bulbs and windowglass should not be placed here.

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

N.B.! Sorting of the glass is partly manual. You may not put glass that has contained hazardous waste here. Glass labelled with the following hazard pictograms must be sorted as chemical waste. See KI:s rules for laboratory waste.

N.B.! Porcelain and cheramics cannot be recycled as glass. Pack the porcelain/cheramics to prevent people from accidently cutting themselves, label with “broken porcelain/cheramics” and place next to the bin for 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 and

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 or

Examples of fluorescent tubes, poster and sign:

  • Straight fluorescent tubes

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


Elektronic waste is often classified as hazardous waste since it may contain a number of components that are hazardous to us or to our environment.

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. Also in-built batteries.
  • 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.

N.B.! Other hazardous waste, that is not electronic, must not be placed here.

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. Only empty packages! Cans that contain solvents, glue or paint must be handled as hazardous waste.

Soft plastic

If this fraction is missing, soft plastic can be placed in the general ”plastic” fraction. Separation of soft plastic from hard plastic increases the yield of recycling and is preferred as long as there is room for both fractions.

The soft plastic is washed and ground and used to produce new plastic products. Read more on

Examples of soft plastics, poster and sign:

  • Claen plastic bags
  • Cellofane
  • Plastic pockets and folders
  • Soft plastic wrapping

N.B.! PET-bottles should be sorted as return bottles.

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)

Other waste

This is where to put bulky waste and other waste such as porcelain/cheramics. 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 other waste, poster and sign:

  • Bulky waste
  • Furniture
  • Porcelain/cheramics

N.B. You may not place hazardous waste, electronics, packages, magazines, household or textiles/clothes here.


General questions:


Ingela Djupedal

Phone: +46-(0)8-524 872 30
Organizational unit: Miljö och säkerhet

KI campus Flemingsberg:

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

KI campus Solna:

Suez Environment AB: Martin Lindström, driftledare, 08-519 333 33, 070-889 58 99
Suez Environment AB: Dragan Laban, internservice, 073-761 87 61