Waste management instructions




  • Biowaste must be put into the container loose, in a paper bag or compostable plastic bag. A compostable plastic bags must be marked with a standard number (EN 13432) or label, e.g.:




food waste (solid, without packaging)

vegetable and fruits, as well as their peels and seeds

teabags and coffee grounds, paper filters

garden and park waste, flower soil/potting compost

cut flowers, branches, grass

paper pulp egg cartons



liquids (milk, sour cream, yogurt, soup, sauce, etc.): pour into sewage

cooking oil: collect separately and hand over to waste operator

textile: put into public textile containers

food waste in packages or non-compostable plastic bags

bulky bones

cigarette butts

artificial flowers

vacuum cleaner bags

Mixed waste

  • Waste must be put into the container loose or in a plastic bag.



disposable coffee cups and their lids

disposable tableware and cutlery

soiled or wet paper and cardboard

soiled packaging


chewing gum

cigarette butts

incandescent light bulbs

broken tableware and ceramics

sanitary towels (pads), tampons



packaging: mixed packaging​

paper and cardboard: paper, cardboard and scrap paper

biowaste: biowaste

medications: return to the pharmacy 

hazardous waste: contact property manager

bulky waste: contact property manager

construction waste: contact property manager

Paper and cardboard

  • Paper, cardboard, and carton waste must be put in this container.
  • Paper, cardboard, and carton waste must be dry and clean, cardboard and carton packaging – empty.
  • Paper and cardboard waste must be put into the container loose, in a paper or transparent plastic bag. Paper waste from paper shredder must be put into a transparent plastic bag to avoid dispersal of paper pieces when emptying the container.
  • Spirals, plastic lids, and other alien elements must be removed.
  • Bulky boxes and other waste must be pressed or cut into smaller pieces to save space in the container.



copy paper​

carton and cardboard cases and boxes

paper bags

drawing, wrapping, and kraft paper

copybooks, notebooks, books and paper envelopes

newspapers and magazines

advertising brochures



Documents containing confidential information that must be destroyed should be collected into a special locked container or removed during waste disposal campaign.

disposable coffee cups and tableware: mixed waste container

soiled or wet paper and cardboard: mixed waste container

household paper, disposable wipes: mixed waste container

self-copy carbon paper, stickers: mixed waste container

foil, film: mixed packaging container

beverage cartons and Tetra Pak packages: mixed packaging container

ice-cream packaging and candy wrapping paper: mixed packaging container

Plastic-, glass-, metal- and tetra packaging

  • Plastic, glass, metal and Tetra Pak packaging must be put into this container.
  • Packaging must be empty, clean and pressed together.

  • Packaging must be put into the container loose or in a transparent plastic bag.
  • If packaging consists of various materials, those must be separated before being put into the container.

  • The packaging is clean if it contains no product residues.
  • Food packaging must be rinsed before being put into the container to avoid soiling of other packaging waste.
  • Bulky packaging (pallets, EPS - foam polystyrene, etc.) must be returned to product delivery or handed over to the property manager.
  • Packaging that contained hazardous waste may be put into the container only if it is entirely empty.
  • Packaging containing residues of hazardous substances must be disposed of together with other hazardous waste.



PLASTIC: bottles and canisters, corks, salad- and cake boxes, sandwich containers, yogurt cups, ham and cheese packaging, film, plastic bags, foam polystyrene (EPS), cosmetic and sanitary product packaging

METAL: tins, cans, corks, and lids

TETRA: juice, wine, yogurt and milk cartons

GLASS: bottles and jars



packaging containing food residues: mixed waste container

ceramics, incandescent light bulbs, mirrors, tableware and cutlery: mixed waste container

other plastic and rubber objects: mixed waste container

Hazardous waste, electronic waste, bulky waste, products of concerne, construction waste


HAZARDOUS WASTE: solvents, chemicals, medicines, fertilizers, poisons, oils, paints, varnishes, sharps waste (syringes, razor blades, etc.), energy-saving light bulbs, and packaging containing leftovers of hazardous substances*: head of the structural unit or property manager provide information about places for hazardous waste collection and methods of disposal.

*Hazardous waste packaging is marked with one or several labels listed below:


  • electric and electronic waste, toners: hand over to IT specialist
  • batteries and accumulators: collection boxes are located in the corridors, near security posts or recycling stations
  • fluorescent lamps: hand over to property manager


  • e.g. pieces of furniture, window panes, plaster panels, etc.:  hand over to property manager


  • Disposable face masks, sanitizing wipes, and gloves must be put into containers marked with COVID label.
  • If placed separately, waste possibly infected with COVID will be safely removed by waste operator.
  • Waste possibly infected with COVID must not be recycled and must be disposed of.
  • Location of COVID containers is marked on waste management map of Estonian University of Life Sciences, more information may be acquired from property managers.





  • Property managers:

haldus@emu.ee (general)


Kreutzwaldi 1, 5; Eerika ja Rõhu

Mati Haav

 +372 5209 959, mati.haav@emu.ee


Kreutzwaldi 3, 52 ja Tuglase 7

Karl Zeigo

+372 5135 364, karl.zeigo@emu.ee


Kreutzwaldi 46, 56, 62 ja Veski 4

Aivar Šinkarev

+372 5122 177, aivar.sinkarev@emu.ee


  • Department of ICT:

+372 731 3070, helpdesk@emu.ee (general)


  • ICT support: 

Kreutzwaldi 1, 1A, 46, 48, 52,  +372 731 3085

Kreutzwaldi 5 , +372 731 3082,  +372 731 3197

Kreutzwaldi 56, 58, 58A , +372 731 3922

Kreutzwaldi 62 , +372 731 3006


  • Green university:

Martin Tikk 

+372 5326 7516, martin.tikk@emu.ee

Waste management maps in EMU campus

Download waste sorting guides

EMU waste disposal campaign​s

There are currently no active campaigns. 

Give away your second hand stuff

There are currently no active campaigns. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


What can be done to decrease waste production?​

Waste avoidance helps save material. Avoid overpacking, choose unpacked fruit and vegetables or put them into your own reusable bag. When shopping, put things into your own textile, paper or plastic bag. As life without packaging is impossible – it protects the product during transportation, prolongs its shelf life, contains necessary information about the product – it is crucial to recycle once used packages.

  • Avoid using products with short lifecycle or disposable ones. For instance, choose reusable tableware and cutlery instead of disposable ones, rechargeable batteries instead of regular ones.
  • Give preference to high quality and durable products as they last longer and it is possible to repair them if damaged.  
  • Put a “No junk mail” sticker on your post-box.
  • When shopping, use a shopping list to avoid unnecessary purchases.
  • When buying food products with a longer shelf life, choose a larger package.
  • Try to minimise the number of printed documents, and if printing cannot be avoided, use both sides of the paper sheet.


Where should I start, if I decided to start sorting waste?

First, make sure you have basic knowledge about recycling: why is it necessary to sort waste, what types of waste can be sorted, what containers are used for each type of waste, and to what extent does the waste have to be cleaned.  


Waste is not merely garbage, but a resource. Recycling saves energy and natural resources like water, mineral resources, wood. Sorting helps us avoid waste disposal in landfills, water pollution, and its transmission into human organism via food chain. Waste sorting and recycling helps us save money – for example, the fee for emptying package or paper and cardboard containers is either lower or non-existent compared to emptying mixed waste ones. 

Where should I start and where to put waste?

The most important factor you have to understand is that waste sorting and recycling do not produce more waste, the amount of waste remain the same. If you used to put all waste produced in the kitchen into the same container, you do not have to look for additional space, it is sufficient to divide the existing container into several compartments. However, if there is enough room, you may start using separate smaller containers for each type of waste.

You may start with sorting regularly produced waste types, i.e. collect separately biodegradable waste, packages, paper and cardboard. An ordinary box is suitable for collecting used batteries, medicinal products, hazardous waste.

Old paper and package may be taken to public containers. Used regular and rechargeable batteries are commonly collected in places selling those. As a rule, containers are labelled with stickers with the information on the type of waste that can be placed into this container. Larger volumes of paper and cardboard or packaging material (glass, plastic, tetra-pak, metal), biodegradable kitchen and garden waste, hazardous waste (varnish, paint, mercury waste and residues, fluorescent lamps), electronic devices, bulky waste (old furniture, etc.) have to be taken to the local waste station.

How to sort waste?

You can find more detailed guidelines on sorting and recycling waste at the webpage of Estonian University of Life Sciences, at Green University Initiative section, as well as the ones of the local authorities and waste operators.

Packaging must be empty and clean (i.e. it must not contain any product residues or smell unpleasantly; if necessary, you should rinse the package before putting it into the container to avoid soiling other packages).

You should put packaging and paper/ cardboard into containers either loose or in a transparent plastic bag. Paper/ cardboard must not be too wet or soiled. You should press bulky/ large-size packaging together before putting it into the container to save space. If possible, you should try to place different materials separately, for example, cardboard case should be separated from plastic yoghurt cup as well as metal lid from a glass jar. However, you should put different packages into the same container, as they will be further sorted by waste managing company.  

Intresting facts

  • By reusing one aluminium can, you can save 90% of the energy that would be used to produce a new can.
  • 324 litres of water are necessary to manufacture 1 kg of paper. Thus, 10 litres of water are necessary to manufacture one A4 sheet of paper.
  • Recycling 1 tonne of paper saves 17 trees, 26 500 litres of water and 2 600 litres of oil. Paper can be recycled and reused 5–7 times.
  • Plastic recycling only takes one tenth of the amount of energy necessary to produce plastic from oil.
  • 2700 litres of water are necessary to manufacture one cotton t-shirt.
  • Estonians drink an average of 2 cups of coffee a day. One cup makes about 10 g of used coffee grounds, it makes about 7 kg per person per year, which is usually thrown away. Instead of it we could produce energy of it: 250 l of biogas could produce of 1 kg used coffee grounds or 500 kWh of electricity from 1 t of used coffee ground.


What is biowaste? Why is it necessary to separately collect it and how to do this properly?

Biowaste is generally defined as biodegradable waste, for instance, food waste, confectionary products, tea and coffee grounds, as well as grass, tree leaves, and wilted flowers. However, it is impossible to put all food waste into biowaste container: you cannot put liquids and liquid residues (e.g. yoghurt, soup, etc.) into the container as they may spoil waste transporting vehicle or leak out.

Biodegradable waste is collected into a separated container that is either regularly emptied by a waste operator or is composted on-site. Biowaste should be placed into the container loose or in a paper or compostable plastic bag. All alien waste (e.g. packaging) decelerate or ruin the process. To avoid spoiling of biowaste containers, waste operators regularly line their interior with compostable plastic bag.

There exist numerous reasons for separately collecting biowaste:

  • Collecting biowaste separately is required by a legal act – biodegradable waste must be handed over to the waste operator or composted on-site. In Tartu, it is required to separately collect biowaste in all apartment blocks with more than ten apartments and on non-residential land if the volume of produced biowaste exceeds 80 litres a week. In the European Union, a similar requirement will be ratified in 2024.
  • Organic matter degradation at a landfill leads to landfill gas production, bio gas, rich in methane. If not collected separately with specific reactors, it becomes greenhouse gas, causes atmosphere temperature increase and changes the climate.
  • Also biogas can be produce from biodegradable materials (animal manure, sewage sludge, food industry waste and other biowaste), which in turn can be used to produce both electricity and heat using a combined heat and power plant. For example, on the initiative of Paulig's Estonian office in 2019, almost 14 t of coffee grounds were collected from companies and individuals in three months, from which about 17 500 kWh of green bioenergy was produced. The energy was donated to the Haiba Children’s Home, and this amount covered their energy needs for 2 months. This amount would cover energy needs of a regular Estonian household for almost six years.
  • Biodegradable waste may get a “new life” by being composted. Compost adds fertilizing matter and organic carbon to the soil. Soil fixes carbon which reduces the amount of carbon in circulation. Compost enriches soil, maintains its nutrient and humus content, and enhances biodiversity.
  • Collecting biowaste separately from mixed waste allows to reduce unpleasant smell in mixed waste containers.

For more information.


How much and what kind of biowaste is produced in Estonian University of Life Sciences? How is biowaste collection managed at Estonian University of Life Sciences? 

It is not yet known how much kitchen and cafeteria, garden and park waste is produced at Estonian University of Life Sciences. In Tartu, this type of waste makes 32% of mixed municipal waste.

Biowaste produced at Estonian University of Life Sciences majorly consists of food residues, confectionary products, tea and coffee grounds, grass, tree leaves, flowers, etc. At the moment, biowaste is separately collected in cafeterias and several university buildings. We are planning to start collected coffee grounds next to coffee machines. Containers for biowaste will soon be installed in kitchenettes and rest areas, as well as some laboratories. All these containers will be provided with sorting and recycling guidelines.


What do the numbers inside three yellow arrows on plastic packaging mean?

On plastic packaging, the number combination inside three arrows shows what type of plastic the packaging is made of. Materials numbered 1–6 form 90% of consumer plastic used.

The majority of plastic collected in Estonia is then sorted, crushed, washed, flaked, and then sold to other countries. Some part of material is used to produce new packaging.  Packaging film and plastic from bottles and canisters is a popular commodity. Waste operator Ragn-Sells sorts and recycles approximately 30 types of plastic.

In the table below, easily recycled plastic is marked green, plastic that is slightly more complicated to recycle – yellow, and problematic plastic – red.


Symbol Type of plastic Usage
PET – polyethylene terephthalate Bottles, cans, microwave oven boxes, cooking bags
HDPE – high density polyethylene Plastic bags, packaging film, canisters, chemical tanks
PVC – polyvinyl chloride Bottles for certain carbonated beverages and household chemicals, boxes, thermos-shrinkable film
LDPE – low density polyethylene  Plastic bags and other packaging, agricultural film
PP – polypropylene Packaging film, bottle cases
PS – polystyrene Yoghurt cups; PS is widely used as polyfoam meant for manufacturing various food packaging, disposable tableware, and protective granules and wrappings for industrial products.
Other types of plastic and combinations of different plastics Certain plastic bottles, greenhouse plates, protective glasses, etc.


What waste can be put into packaging container?

Packaging is manufactured from any type of material and used to enclose, protect, handle, and transport a commodity throughout its entire life cycle – from raw material to the completed product, to be transported from the manufacturer to the consumer. All types of plastic packaging may be put into packaging containers (food, industrial products, and sanitary products packages), regardless of the type of plastic. You can also put plastic bags, food film, foil, polyfoam boxes, and bubble wrap into the packaging container.

Waste management operator will further sort all packaging according to the type of material it is made of.  

Interesting facts

  • Plastic waste pollutes the oceans. It is predicted that by 2050 the weight of plastic in the ocean is going to exceed the overall weight of fish. We must not let that happen!
  • The European Parliament decided to ban since 2021 the use of the following plastic products that pollute European coastal areas most: disposable single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks) and plates, plastic straws, cotton buds, balloon stems, food boxes, polyfoam cups, and oxo-degradable plastic. All these together with the lost fishing gear form 70% of the entire marine litter.


What should I do with plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, wooden, and paper waste that is not packaging?

Intact, clean, old objects that are possible to use may be donated, handed over to recycling centres or taken to waste stations. Unusable, soiled, broken objects (e.g. ceramics, footwear, as well as very soiled packaging) must be put into municipal mixed waste container. There exist numerous public packaging and old paper containers in the city.


What can be done with electric and electronic waste?

At Estonian University of Life Sciences, it is only possible to give away purchased by and registered for university use old electronic devices. These are handed over to ICT department.

In general, it is possible to take old electronic devices to the shop selling those. It is also possible to take those devices to the waste station – to specify location, visit: www.kuhuviia.ee.

In Estonia, recycling of electronic waste operates based on the responsibility of the manufacturer – enterprises introducing these electronic devices to the market cover collection and recycling expenses. The expenses are indirectly included into the product price, and the customer covers them when purchasing the product and does not have to pay for changing the device into waste.

Returnable electronic waste must not contain any other waste and must be intact, because when certain parts of the refrigerator are disassembled, hazardous CFC particles may escape and damage ozone layer.

All collected electronic waste is then either recycled or reused.

Interesting facts​

  • Recycling and re-using one tonne of steel saves 75 % of energy that may be used to heat 5400 private households.

  • Approximately 910 litres of water is necessary to produce one mobile phone.


Current waste management at Estonian University of Life Sciences and the upcoming changes?

Property management department organises waste management (indoor container emptying and cleaning) at Estonian University of Life Sciences. Cleaners empty the containers located in university buildings following sorting and recycling guidelines. Cleaners do not further sort the mixed waste – thus, if we want certain items to be recycled or re-used, we have to separate re-usable waste from the mixed one and put it into the appropriate container.

Currently, it is possible to sort waste by putting into different containers mixed waste, packaging, and paper waste in all university buildings. There are special collection boxes for used regular and rechargeable batteries.  Old electronic devices and printer cartridges can be handed over to ICT department. Hazardous waste management is coordinated by the head of the structural unit in cooperation with work environment specialist.

In the near future, Department of Property Management and Green University Initiative are planning to make information on waste management better accessible and create new waste sorting possibilities in dormitories, rest areas, kitchenettes, and laboratories.

All university waste containers will be labelled with corresponding uniform signs and sorting guidelines will be provided. Information on waste management (in Estonian and English) on Green University Initiative webpage will be updated.


Does coffee machine produce a lot of waste?

Every coffee cup produces waste that includes one cup, one spoon, and coffee ground. Disposable coffee cups are impossible to re-use. At Estonian University of Life Sciences, it is now possible to buy coffee from the machine using your own cup. Adjustments have been introduced to the machine settings, and henceforth, every time when you use a disposable cup, 20 cents are added to the price. That should motivate people to use re-usable and thermo-cups more frequently. This initiative was introduced by the Students Union of the Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and was supported by Green University Initiative.

More information


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