Cardboard, paper, plastic, metal and glass containers

How do I use my recycling collection service?

  1. collect all your paper, card, cardboard, glass, cans and plastic containers
  2. flatten your cardboard, rinse your food and drinks containers, squash your plastic containers; remove and recycle lids, caps, tops and straws
  3. place your card and paper in your blue box and your glass, cans and plastics in your green box
  4. flatten large cardboard boxes, tie in a bundle, or place inside another cardboard box
  5. take your boxes with covers and present them at the kerbside before 07:00am on your day of collection

Your blue box is for card, cardboard and paper

Yes No
  • cardboard boxes
  • ready meal sleeves
  • toilet and kitchen roll tubes
  • cereal boxes
  • egg cartons
  • brochures and leaflets
  • catalogues and books
  • envelopes (including window envelopes)
  • greetings cards and giftwrap
  • newspapers and magazines
  • unwanted mail
  • all types of colours of paper
  • plastic bags or wrappers
  • padded envelopes
  • polystyrene
  • food and drinks cartons
  • tissues and napkins
  • padded envelopes
  • kitchen towels
  • disposable cardboard cups
  • wallpaper

Your green box is for plastic, metal and glass containers

Yes No
  • plastic drinks bottles
  • plastic toiletry bottles
  • plastic yoghurt, dessert and snack pots
  • plastic margarine and soft cheese tubs
  • plastic fruit and vegetable punnets
  • plastic ready meal and confectionery trays
  • plastic lids and tops
  • glass bottles and jars
  • food tins and drinks cans
  • empty aerosols
  • clean aluminium foil
  • foil trays
  • chocolate and biscuit tins
  • metal lids and tops
  • plastic bags, liners or film
  • plastic pouches, wrappers or packets
  • Plant pots
  • food and drinks cartons
  • polystyrene containers
  • crisp bags
  • bubble wrap
  • food and drinks cartons
  • small electricals
  • batteries
  • engine oil and paint cans
  • cutlery
  • drinking glasses
  • crockery, ceramics and pyrex
  • light bulbs

Check your collection day

You can check your collection dates online and download your waste and recycling calendar by typing your postcode and selecting your address.

Get more boxes or covers

Order recycling boxes and covers online through myeastlothian

Find out more about myeastlothian and register online

Email wasteservices@eastlothian.gov.uk to order new, additional or replacement boxes and covers or call us on 01875 824305.

My boxes haven't been emptied

If you put the wrong items in your recycling box then the collection crew will leave them in your box after they have emptied it. If they are not able to separate the wrong items from the correct ones then they may leave the entire box unemptied.

If you presented your boxes at the kerbside by 07:00am on the correct collection day and they have not been emptied, call Biffa on 0131 665 3874. Biffa carry out the collection on our behalf.

What happens to my recycling?

The material from the recycling collections is taken to East Lothian Council's Waste Transfer Station, at Kinwegar, near Wallyford where it is bulked up before it is taken to be separated into different material streams.

The glass, cans and plastics are loaded into a large lorry and taken to a materials recovery facility in Grangemouth where they are sorted to produce bales of different types of plastic bottles, mixed plastics, steel and aluminium and mixed glass. The sorted materials are then transported to various locations for recycling.

The paper and cardboard is taken to a facility where it is separated and the cardboard is baled. The sorted paper and cardboard are then loaded into large lorries and transported to UPM's paper mill at Shotton in North East Wales.

How are the materials used?

Once sorted, the material is used in many different ways:

  • The mixed plastics are separated, chipped and washed and can then be recycled into wide variety of products including: clothing, toys, chairs and tables, headphones, kitchen utensils, paint pots, building materials such as fencing, flooring, piping, and more plastic packaging.
  • The glass is melted down and used to make new glass bottles.
  • The cans and aerosols are separated into aluminium and ferrous and are then melted down and used to make kettles, cars, mobile phones, and of course new cans.
  • The paper and cardboard are separated before being pulped and made into new paper products.