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New online recycling tool to help you dispose of your waste correctly

We all know that recycling is one small step everyone can take to help the environment and lower our carbon footprint.

As part of this year’s recycling week (September 20-26) we’d like to help you reduce contamination in your bins which can spoil the rest of the contents and stop them from being recycled. We’ll also be promoting top tips for what to put in which bin and more on which plastics you can recycle.

We’ve created an easy-to -use online recycling sorter. You type in an item and it tells you if it can be recycled, which bin to put it in or where to take it – there’s also plenty of tips too.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Environment Convener, said;

It’s really important we all get in the habit of disposing of our waste correctly and reusing and recycling where we can. This will all help towards our target for Edinburgh to become a net zero carbon city by 2030.

To help you sort out your waste and stop even small bits of food and grease in the green recycling bin contaminating other items, like paper and cardboard spoiling the whole bin we’re providing top tips across various platforms,  including our website. Our brand new recycling sorter will also be a really useful guide too.

Depute Leader, Cammy Day, said:

We’re trying to make recycling as easy as possible for our residents.  I know it can be confusing, with so many different kinds of plastics being used in packaging so we’re providing guidance on that and how to dispose of electrical items safely as well! Please check this out to help us recycle more.

How to make the most your recycling

Check it
Make sure it’s on the ‘yes please list’.

Empty it
Make sure any bottles or containers are empty. Remember, you can leave plastic drink bottle lids on, but please remove any pump sprays.

Rinse it
Rinse any food and drinks packaging with water before putting it in the bin – you can even use dish water to do this.

Remove it
Peel film lids and coverings off plastic bottles, tubs, pots and trays. Plastic film, wrapping and cellophane can’t be recycled. You don’t need to remove labels though.

Separate it
Don’t store containers and packaging inside each other – it’s difficult to separate them at the recycling plant.

How to recycle your plastics

What to recycle
Whether you use a wheelie bin or a communal bin you can easily recycle plastics in your green lidded bin. Just pop in your empty plastic:

  • bottles (juice, shampoo, household cleaning, toiletry bottles etc)
  • pots (yoghurt etc)
  • tubs (ice cream, butter etc)
  • trays (fruit punnets, ready meal trays etc)

We don’t collect any other type of plastic, so don’t put bags, wrappers, cellophane, toys or any other type of plastic in your green lidded bin.

Before you pop them in the bin remember to rinse the bottles and wash any food off pots, tubs and trays – you don’t need to remove labels, but some bottles come wrapped in a sleeve made from a different plastic. Tear these off and put them in your non-recyclable waste bin.

We accept bottles with or without the tops, but remove pump sprays before putting them in the bin as we can’t recycle them.

What happens to plastic recycling?
Our contractor recycles these in their own recycling plants in England. Anything they can’t recycle is turned into fuel.

Avoiding plastics means less waste
Everything you buy or use has an impact on the environment. Recycling helps to reduce this by reducing how many raw products we use but avoiding producing waste in the first place means even less impact.

Edinburgh has some great refill shops where you can bring your own tubs and bottles and refill them with dried foods, household cleaners and toiletries. Some supermarkets are also starting to develop refill stations in-store.

Plastic bags and wrappers
You can recycle plastic bags at larger supermarkets. They’re starting to collect a wider range of plastic wrappers.

Find out about recycling plastic bags and wrappers.

Large plastic items
We can’t collect and recycle large plastic items at our recycling centres at the moment. This includes items like garden furniture and toys. We’re looking for a reliable recycling company who will take items and we’ll start to collect them again as soon as we can.

You can still take them to one of our recycling centres to dispose of them, but we won’t be able to recycle them.

Other household plastics
Some types of plastics are much harder to collect, either due to their size or because they are made of a mix of materials and need specialist treatment.

Some shops have now started to provide collection points for things like lipstick packaging, pumps sprays and cosmetic packaging in store.

These include

  1. Boots
  2. The Body Shop
  3. Lush.

Not all stores will offer the service, so check their websites to find out what they take and which stores provide this.

How to recycle electrical items

  • Kerbside bins – to recycle small electricals in Edinburgh you put them in your blue recycling box (which also collects your glass bottles and jars) if you have one. You can put in batteries (in clear plastic bags) and small electrical items like a hairdryer).
  • You can also use this website to find out where to
  • For reusable items try to use an organisation such as the Changeworks reuse tool to find charities where you can donate them.
  • Take larger items to your nearest recycling centre and remember to book an appointment.
  • Various shops will also collect and recycle small electrical items.

You can also search our new online recycling sorter to find out what to do with your unwanted electricals

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