What happens to your recycling

Where your recycling and waste goes

Food waste is taken to Scottish Water Horizons. They turn food waste into liquid fertiliser and compost. It is also used to create biogas that is turned into energy.

Garden waste

Forth Resource Management (FRM) shred and compost garden waste in large piles called open windrows. The end product can be bought by members of the public.

Red and blue boxes and green recycling bin

Materials are collected by the William Tracey group and sorted before being sent to various reprocessors

  • Paper is sent to a paper mill where it is processed back into newsprint.
  • Tins and cans are recycled back into new tins and cans.
  • Cardboard is made into packaging.
  • Textiles are recycled.
  • Household batteries are recycled.
  • Plastic bottles, tubs and trays are turned into new plastic products such as garden furniture.
  • Electrical items are shredded and metals and plastics are removed for recycling.

Packaging banks

All the items are taken to a recycling sorting facility owned by Biffa. The waste is separated and then sent onwards for recycling to make new products.

Paper banks

Paper from the paper points is taken to a transfer station. It is then sent to a paper mill in Kings Lynn, Norfolk and made into newsprint.

Where your rubbish goes

In Edinburgh around 60% of your rubbish is taken to a landfill site in Dunbar.

Landfill sites are large holes in the ground. They are lined with a layer of clay or synthetic material to prevent pollutants from escaping.

Watch our video to see what happens to waste that we can't reuse or recycle.

Scotland 's Zero Waste plan sets out the Scottish Government's vision for a zero waste society.

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