What happens to your recycling

Materials for recycling go to different reprocessors. Recycle for Scotland show how this process works.

Mixed recycling

Mixed recycling includes

  • plastics
  • cans
  • paper

which go to Biffa where the recycling gets sorted into material streams and then sent on to various different contractors, including Jayplas in Leicester and ClearPoint recycling. There they make a range of raw materials or new products such as tins and cans, and cardboard for packaging.

Food waste

Food waste goes to the Biogen plant at Millerhill and is made into renewable electricity and fertiliser.

Garden waste

Garden waste is taken to Forth Resource Management where they shred garden waste in large piles, called open windrows, where it composts over time. The end product, a soil improver, can be bought by members of the public.


Glass is taken to Viridor, where it is sorted and processed into high quality raw materials for the glass container and fibreglass markets.


Textiles are collected and sorted by Nathans  to be re-used and recycled in developing nations in

  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Eastern Europe.

Small electricals

Electrical items are shredded and metals and plastics are removed for recycling.


Household batteries are sorted and processed at G&P Batteries to recover the materials in each battery type.

Non recyclable waste

All waste that is collected from grey bins or black lidded communal bins is taken to our new Energy Recovery facility at Millerhill, where it is processed into electricity, instead of being landfilled.

Landfill sites are large holes in the ground. They are lined with a layer of clay or synthetic material to prevent pollutants from escaping. This site is well managed to protect the environment but it is important to use our recycling services where possible to make the best use of precious materials.

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