Too Good To Waste

What would you like to reduce, reuse, repair or recycle?


Types of plastic

Plastics often are labelled with a symbol - three arrows surrounding a number. the number tells you which type of plastic it is: 

1 = PET, Polyethylene Terephthalate, currently widely recycled.

2 = HDPE, High-Density Polyethylene, currently widely recycled.

3 = PVC, Polyvinyl Chloride

4 = LDPE, Low-Density Polyethylene

5 = PP, Polypropylene

6 = PS, Polystyrene or Styrofoam, is not recyclable.

7 = other. This makes it likely to not be recyclable.


Not sure what can be recycled in Edinburgh?

Check the packaging type (e.g Food Tray) on the City of Edinburgh Council's recycling sorter.


You can reduce packaging waste by buying items loose such as fruit and vegetables and choosing items that are not over packaged. See PLASTIC and See GLASS for details of shops that offer a refill service and tips on how to reduce packaging.

For details on how to recycle packaging materials: See GLASS , See CARD/CARDBOARD and See PLASTIC.

City of Edinburgh

City of Edinburgh Council kerbside recycling service accepts many types of packaging. In the Green bin you can recycle tins, cans, paper, cardboard, envelopes, shredded paper, plastic bottles and bottle tops, pots, tubs and trays- put the items in loose, do not use plastic or black bags. Some examples of pots, tubs and trays include yoghurt pots, tubs containing cleaning products, meat trays, margarine tubs, ready-meal containers, punnet style containers that hold fruit / vegetables such as mushrooms or grapes and pots containing facial or body creams.

Communal bins (for flats) you can recycle packaging in the green lidded bins. You can put cardboard, clean plastic bottles with tops, pots, tubs and trays, clean cans and tins, drink cartons, for example juice and milk cartons, empty aerosols and foil. Note: Remember to rinse your plastics, cans and tins and put your recycling in loose.

AVOID: Putting bags of recycling in the bin - this counts as contamination and means waste cannot be sorted. You can't put plastic bags, glass, wrappers, crisp bags or photographs, polystyrene, plastic toys or plant pots in your shared packaging bin.

The following materials can be taken to the Packaging Recycling Points in Edinburgh: food and drink tins and cans; envelopes; clean aluminium foil; empty aerosol cans; plastic bottles; cardboard and cardboard food and drink cartons (e.g. Tetra Paks). 
See: W:

Buying concentrated products and buying in bulk saves you money and reduces packaging. Split items between friends or family members if you have too much to use at once or don't have the storage space.

Use margarine tubs etc. for storing left-over food, instead of using foil or clingfilm.

Ask at your local playgroup, nursery or primary school to see if they could make use of plastic tubs, cardboard etc.

In the rest of the Lothians certain packaging items are accepted in kerbside collections. See KERBSIDE RECYCLING.


 Polystrene is not currently recyclable. In Edinurgh it should be put into General Waste (black lidded bin) 

The Scottish Government is planning to ban expanded polystrene food containers, cups and other beverage containers in 2022.     

Plastic film on food packaging, plastic bags and Plastic marked as low-density polyethylene (LDPE) - resin ID code 4


Thin plastic used in films, clear plastic wrappers and for things like crisp packets cannot be recycled in household waste. You can take these items to carrier bag collection points at the larger stores of major supermarkets. Recycle now has a postcode checker to help you find where you can do this locally.


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