Recycling & reuse

Paper flowers
Recycling workshop

The Highland Council recycling rate has reached 45% putting it 11th place in the rankings of the 32 Scottish Local Authorities (based on Scottish Environmental Protection Agency figures released in 2013). But there is still more that can be done to cut waste – a shockingly 27% of bin content in the Highlands is made up of food.

Thing before you bin it!  Next time you have a clear out make sure you pass on your unwanted items to a local charity shop, recycling bank or rag bin at the local school. For hints and tips on making the most of your clothes visit Love Your Clothes. There are a number of simple steps we can all take to reduce, reuse and recycle much of the waste we produce in our homes.

Top tips


  • Choose less packaged goods, try and buy fruit, vegetables and other items loose
  • Buy concentrated products that use less packaging
  • Cut down on batteries by using wind up electronic equipment or rechargeable batteries
  • Try repairing your household items to extend their life and reduce the amount of waste you have to throw away
  • Try to hire rather than buy items you will only use once or twice (for example, DVDs, tools )
  • Cut down on unwanted mail at Stop the Drop
  • Freeze left overs and only buy what you need.


  • Donate unwanted goods to charity
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Avoid disposable nappies, visit the Highland Real Nappy Project for more details
  • Try a cotton bag or “bag for life” for your shopping
  • Freecycle may be a great way to reuse some of the things that you have finished with.


  • Make use of your nearest recycling points and centres
  • Many charities will recycle your old mobile phones
  • Charity shops will accept coins, postcards, stamps and other similar items
  • Composting at home is a great way of helping our environment and your garden

 Recycling – In Strathglass and Glen Urquhart we have the two wheelie bin alter weekly collections, blue – recycling and green – waste.  Local Authorities can choice which door step recycling facilities they provide so across the Highlands and Scotland provision will differ which can cause some confusion for people. So what can we put in our blue recycling bins and what can we do with other unwanted items?

Simple blue bin check list:

Yes No
Bottle shaped plastics but not the lids Plastic food or polystyrene trays and packaging
Paper, newspapers and magazines Tin foil
Cardboard: boxes, tubes, egg boxes etc Glass – take to a recycling point
Food and drink tins (both steel & aluminium) Plastic bags, bubble wrap or foam
Unwanted mail Tetropacs or similar food/drink packs

Recycling centres and open times

A to Z of Recycling in the Highlands

Disposal of large household items

Love Your ClothesUK households have an average of £4000 worth of clothes – but 30% of those haven’t been worn in the last year! We can all save money and help the environment by making simple changes to the way we buy, use and get rid of our clothing

Love Food Hate Waste – In the Highlands 27% of bin content is made up of food most of which could have been eaten!  Scottish households throw away 630,000 tonnes of food waste every year. A large amount of this could have been avoided if it had been more effectively planned, stored and managed. Avoidable food waste costs Scotland over £1 billion, that’s the equivalent of £470 per household!

Producing, distributing, storing and cooking food uses energy, fuel and water. Each of these emits greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. In fact in the UK we throw away the equivalent of more than three million slices of cheese a day! Think of what goes into making a pack of cheese. The resources that go into raising the cows, processing the milk, transporting the cheese, refrigeration, the fuel we use to drive to the shop to buy it – all this to put it in the bin at the end of the week. ! For information on storage tips, recipes, great tips and apps on saving food visit love Food Hate Waste.

Making your own compost – Why compost? We say why not! – What we can’t eat in terms of waste food (uncooked items) including vegetable peelings, tea bags egg shells etc can be put in the compost bin. You can buy a compost bin for around £25 from most gardens centres or build your own.  

So what is so good about composting?

  • You get FREE compost that can be used as mulch, soil conditioner, lawn conditioner or as a potting mix.
  • Scotland produces enough organic waste every year to fill Hampden stadium more than 18 times. By composting at home, you can reduce this type of waste going to landfill.
  • Reduces the production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is produced when kitchen and garden waste break down in a landfill. Methane gas contributes to global warming.
  • Saves the Earth’s natural resources by reducing the need for peat taken from endangered habitats.
  • Reduces the amount of waste collected, transported and processed, which is an important carbon saving.

If you’re keen to give composting a try there are lots of helpful tips and advice on the Recycle for Scotland site.