Too Good To Waste

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


Plastic types

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.


Avoid buying shower gel or liquid soap. A bar of soap, solid or concentrated shampoos and conditioners last much longer, are often less expensive and use less packaging. Refill shops and Lush sell these.

If you use bottled water, save money and resources by buying a water jug with a filter to use instead. This will also save you time at the shops and save you from having to carry heavy bottles home! See also Water Filters.

Save money, reduce plastic and reduce the amount of chemicals you use by making and using your own household cleaning products. They are much easier to make than you may think as they use simple and easily available ingredients such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. For 'recipes', do a search online for 'environmentally friendly cleaning products recipes'.

Use returnable milk bottles instead of buying milk in plastic bottles. See GLASS for details.

Ecover products can be refilled at quite a few local shops throughout Edinburgh, the Lothians. For contacts: T: 08451 302 230 or do a postcode search via: W:

Reuse plastic bottles

  • Cut off the tops of plastic drinks bottles to make an instant funnel; the bottom half makes a mini greenhouse for individual seedlings (pierce for ventilation).
  • Fill a plastic drinks bottle with water and place in toilet cistern to save the amount of water you use when flushing.

Edinburgh: Edinburgh's kerbside recycling accepts plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.

For East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian place bottles into your kerbside collection box or bin (See KERBSIDE RECYCLING). They can also be taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres in all areas. See COMMUNITY RECYCLING CENTRES.

Please note that no other types of plastic other then bottles are accepted for recycling in Midlothian and West Lothian. In Midlothian and West Lothian only type 1 (PET/PETE) and type 2 (HDPE) bottles are accepted. Check the bottom of the bottle for the type of plastic.

It is possible that other types of plastic will be collected for recycling in the future, as the local markets for these continue to improve.

Most charity shops accept clean carrier bags for reuse. See CHARITY SHOPS.

All ASDA, Morrisons, large Tesco and Sainsbury's supermarkets have plastic carrier bag recycling facilities. Some smaller Tesco and Sainsbury's stores do too. Please check at your local store. IKEA also accept back its own plastic carrier bags for recycling.

Plastic pots, tubs, trays, tops & straws (removed from containers) are accepted in the East Lothian kerbside collection. See Kerbside Recycling.

Plastic single- use drinking cups

Save-A-Cup is a not-for-profit organisation that recycles hard-walled polystyrene cups (with the number 6 recycling symbol on the bottom). The minimum pick-up is three bags:

T: 01494 510 167

 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.

Recycle polythene at supermarket carrier bag collection points at larger stores of Asda, Co-operative, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose.

The plastic that is accepted for recycling is from: wrapping from bakery goods, breakfast cereal liners, packaging for household goods such as toilet roll wrap, plastic-wrapped grocery produce and multipack shrink-wrap.

Look for the on-pack recycling label will advise consumers to recycle the packaging at supermarket carrier bag collection points.


To recycle polythene packaging, carrier bags and wrappers from magazines, enclose your name and address and send your package to:

Polyprint Mailing Films Ltd.

Mackintosh Road
Rackheath Industrial Estate
Rackheath, Norwich
NR13 6LJ
T: 01603 721 807
Printed and unprinted polythene wrappers and bags can be recycled, provided all paper labels, sellotape and food remnants etc. have been removed. The recycling codes that apply are numbers 2 and 4.

Polythene marked as degradable affects the recycling process. If any of this material is present (e.g. some supermarket carrier bags), then the whole batch will be rejected and sent to a landfill site.

Other materials such as cellophane can be differentiated from polythene as they usually sound crinkly when touched. Polythene will also stretch fairly easily whereas the others do not.

Use a box or pack the wrappers flat/rolled. Please mark your package 'For Recycling' and ensure the appropriate postage.

Non-packaging hard plastics

The following clean hard plastic items are accepted at the Kinwegar Recycling Centre in East Lothian. See Community Recycling Centres East Lothian

  • Plastic Furniture and Fittings
  • Plastic Pipes and Guttering
  • Plastic Toys/ Paddling Pools
  • Plastic plant pots
  • CD's, DVD's, Audio & Video Tapes and Cases

Key to symbols

Environmental Suggestion
Star Action

Got a second? Your feedback is very valuable to us.

We've got 3 quick questions for you.

Give feedback