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Recycling is Easy!

Recycling doesn't need to be confusing

Each of the 32 councils in Scotland has different ways of recycling our household rubbish. Even across Forth Valley what goes in a green bin in Falkirk is different to a green bin in Stirling. It all depends on what each council’s Material Recovery Facility can sort and so varies from one council to the next.

The most important part of Recycling is to avoid contamination as much as possible. Contamination is when an item is put into the wrong bin or has not been rinsed properly. For example:

  • Putting a nappy in the recycling bin can lead to a contamination of the entire bin which can lead to your waste not being collected!
  • If the contamination is not noticed by the kerbside collection team the entire bin lorry could be contaminated and possibly turned away from the Material Recovery Facility. This would mean that the entire lorry and all the recyclables would have to be sent to a landfill. And all because of one nappy!

Contamination can also occur when the recyclables haven’t been rinsed properly.

  • Not washing out plastic or tin cans can impact the local recycling centre. It varies between the facilities. Sometimes if there is a tiny bit of food waste this can be washed out and the item put back with the recyclables.
  • However, if there is a lot of residue it contaminate the recycling and will be sent to a landfill.

Seven Tips for Recycling

  1. Recycle plastic bags separately. You may think that gathering up all your recyclables in a neat tidy bag is a good way to collect them all together, but plastic bags are unpredictable and cause time-consuming problems at the recycling plant. They slow down the automated recycling process so instead, take your plastic bags to a specific bag recycling location. These can often be found at supermarkets. Better yet try find ways to avoid plastic all together!
  2. Try not to shred paper. If the pieces of paper are too small, some recycling centres will not accept them. For those that can accept them  shredded paper will often lower the quality of what it can be recycled into. The length of the paper fibre determines if it can be recycled into high-grade material such as useful printer paper or low-grade material.
  3. Squash bottles and put the lid back on. The best way to recycle a clean plastic bottle is to squash it and put the lid back on. Putting the lid on means that it won’t be missed in the sorting process, and squashed bottle means there is less air trapped inside so the bottle is less likely to propel the lid off if it is compressed!
  4. Keep cardboard and other recyclables clean. While cardboard is recyclable, grease can damage it and make it impossible to recycle, so avoid putting soiled food packaging, liquids and animal wastes in your recycling bin as it can contaminate the rest of the recyclable materials.
  5. Read your local recycling guide. Whilst most councils have similar recycling methods, there may be variations on what you can recycle and what you can’t, so check out their website, or read the leaflet that they have provided, to make sure you are up-to-date with your local recycling options.
  6. Compost your Food Waste. Try building your own compost heap. This helps if you have a lot of food waste, this saves your bin smelling bad, and overfilling your small food caddy.
  7. For Textiles. Clothes and other fabric stuff, you can donate them to charity or keep them in your homes by upcycling them or organising swap parties.

So what goes in which bin?

Clackmannanshire Council

Blue Bin: paper, cardboard, plastic, tins and cans

Grey Caddy: food waste

Brown Bin: garden waste if you have purchased a permit

For glass, there are community recycling points across Clackmannanshire, find a map here.

For textiles, batteries and other recyclables, there is the Forthbank Household Waste Recycling Centre. What can be recycled and more information can be found here.

Stirling Council

Blue Bin: plastic, cans and cartons

Green Bin: paper and cardboard

Brown Bin: garden and food waste

Blue Box: glass

For textiles, there are banks across the Stirling area, find a map here. And more information on the textile banks here.

Batteries can be recycled at Household Recycling Centres at Lower Polmaise, Balfron and Callander.

Falkirk Council

Blue Bin: plastics cans and cartons

Burgundy Bin: paper (clean and dry) and cardboard (flattened)

Green Bin: non-recyclables

Brown Bin: Household garden waste

Black Box: glass, small electrical items (inc. batteries) and textiles (in textile bag)

Grey Bin: food waste

Where can I recycle other items?

There are many items that can’t be disposed of via your councils kerbside collection such as old furniture, electrical appliances and paint. To find out where you can recycle these items locally, click the link below. 

What can I do with large items?

If you have large items at home that you no longer need and are still in good condition, you can have them collected by an organisation listed on the Zero Waste Scotland Reuse Tool.

Go beyond Recycling and start a Circular Economy!

Even if you bin in the right places, we would still encourage you to bin LESS. These are other ways to lessen the amount of things that is thrown out!

  • For clothes, other fabric stuff, Organising a Swishing Party or Upcycle your Clothes
  • For furniture, try upcycling instead of taking them to recycling centres that takes too much time and at times money
  • Compost your food waste and reduce the stuff that goes into your caddy!
  • Avoid Plastic once and for all!

Article Written by Meg Hendrie