Recycling: doing it right really counts

Just a little non-recyclable material in your blue bin can cost the council thousands - money which could have been spent on other council services.

We need you to do it right

To ensure your bottles, yoghurt pots and cardboard boxes can be turned into new products, it is important that when you put them in your blue bin they are clean and dry.

Recycling contractors have strict guidelines on the type and quality of materials they can recycle. Anything not meeting their specification is not recycled. They separate it and remove it for disposal. We have to pay an additional charge for this.

Anything not suitable for recycling should go in your grey bin. It will be used to generate electricity at the Energy-from-Waste facility at Millerhill.

Recycling it wrong is a waste of energy

We send the contents of your blue bin to a recycling facility in Northern Ireland for sorting.

If you put a dirty container, or the wrong item, in your blue bin, they remove that item and send it to Scandinavia to be burnt in an Energy-from-Waste facility there.

We have our own Energy-from-Waste facility, providing energy to local homes and businesses, right here on our doorstep. Please put anything that can't be recycled in your grey bin so it stays in Midlothian.

Where your recycling goes

A waste of waste

None of the waste placed in your grey bin goes to landfill. It instead goes directly to the Millerhill Energy-from-Waste plant to generate electricity and heat.

If in doubt, keep it out

If you are unsure if an item can be recycled using your blue bin service, place it in your grey bin. Over 200 extra homes could be powered by this electricity if the right waste was put in the right bin.

How to ensure your recycling can be recycled 

All items must be clean and dry.

Food scraps

  • Rinse out plastic and metal containers. No need to scrub them with detergent, but they must be free of scraps and residue.
  • Any sauce, liquid or food waste means the container, and anything it drips onto in the bin, can't be recycled.


  • Empty and rinse all bottles and cartons.

Greasy pizza boxes

  • Oil that’s seeped into the cardboard means the fibre can’t be recycled.
  • However, if lid of the box is clean, tear this off and put it in your blue bin.
  • If you have a garden, the whole box can be composted! Tear it into pieces and put it in your home compost bin.

Plastic bags

  • These can plug up sorting machinery. Put them in your grey bin.
  • You can also recycle these as part of the Soft Plastics collection service offered by some local retailers 

Used nappies

  • Disposable nappies are made of several materials, so can’t be recycled.
  • After use, they contain human waste. They must go in your grey bin.

What else can’t we recycle?

  • Tissue and kitchen roll
  • Plastic wrap, cling film, bubble wrap
  • Crisp and sweet wrappers
  • Polystyrene
  • Hard plastic: toys, coat hangers, plant pots etc

Put all these materials in your grey bin.
You can also recycle some of these items as part of the Soft Plastics collection service offered by some local retailers 

A to Z of recycling

Related Downloads