Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Materials you can recycle

Recycling a wide range of materials is easier than ever and a great step towards a greener lifestyle. There are lots of ways to recycle more household items, more often.

And more and more recycled products are now on the market. Some things you would never think to recycle before now can be, like old paint, batteries and even things like gas bottles – and many even have their own dedicated disposal points for recycling. These days most recycling centres take clothes, shoes and books as well as glass, paper and plastics.

Search for local recycling services

What can I recycle?

Many materials can now be recycled across Scotland.


Nearly 97% of the batteries we use in our electronics end up in landfill. That means a lot of metals and harmful chemicals leaking into Scottish soil.

There are now many new and easy ways that you can easily recycle batteries, whether the tiny ones that power a watch or hearing aid or the large batteries that power laptops and radios.

Many shops now have battery recycling points, as do some town halls, schools and libraries - look out for the Be Positive signs to find out where you can recycle batteries.



Composting and Garden

If you have a garden, you will know that it produces lots of leaves, grass clippings, plants, flowers and other organic waste. You can compost this yourself or recycle it with your local council through kerbside collection where available or recycling points. Around 130 recycling points across Scotland accept garden waste. The waste is composted and can often be bought by keen gardeners.

Construction Waste

Brick, blocks, plasterboard, wood and other construction and home improvement waste can be recycled at a range of locations across Scotland. Check out where with our local recycling services search.

Food Waste

For unavoidable food waste (like eggshells, fruit peelings and teabags ) and also for scraps and leftovers, you can use your food recycling service (food waste collections, provided by local authorities). This will turn food waste into green energy, heat and environmentally friendly fertiliser products, which can be used by Scotland’s farmers.  This service is already available in some towns and cities and will be coming to others. Use our food waste recycling services search to find out about food waste collections in your area.


You can give your bottles and jars a second life as something new, whether they become a new bottle, one of the ingredients of concrete or even golf course sand. Simply rinse them clean, remove the lid and place them in your kerbside recycling container if you have one. If you need to recycle at a local bottle bank you're in luck as there are over 2,100 in Scotland. Glass can be recycled over and over and millions of bottles and jars are recycled every year.

Liquids, Paints and Chemicals

You might not have thought about recycling cooking oil, motor oil, garden/household chemicals or paints, but every one of them can be given a new life. Use our local recycling services search to find out where you can recycle your liquids, paints and waste chemicals.


Many different kinds of metals can be recycled, from cans, screws and nails to bedframes and shelving. Cans can be easily used for a whole range of new products from building materials to car parts. They can even be turned back into cans again!

Just rinse your cans clean and recycle at your kerbside or at a local recycling point. Around 2,100 recycling points across Scotland accept cans and hundreds more accept other kinds of metals.

Paper and Cardboard

Most kinds of paper can be easily recycled, including brochures, leaflets, magazines, unwanted mail, newspapers and scrap paper from the office and home. Paper and cardboard composes a significant percentage of our household waste, so recycling as much of it as possible can make a big difference.

Card is used in everything from cereal packets to containers for a whole range of goods we buy in stores and online. It is also easily recycled and reused because it is used for so many different things. You can recycle most paper, card and cardboard through your kerbside recycling facilities (if available) or at hundreds of recycling points around Scotland.


Plastics are among the most versatile materials that can be recycled. Your milk bottle, energy drink or fruit juice container can be turned into anything from bin liners to fleece jackets.

If kerbside recycling is available in your area simply rinse out your bottles and other plastic containers and drop in your box. Or use our local recycling services search to find one of the thousands of recycling points that accept plastics across Scotland.


If your textiles (for example bedding, clothes, nets, pillow cases, sheets, tablecloths and towels) are clean and dry, then they can usually be recycled.

Put your textiles in your kerbside recycling container if you have one, or use our local recycling services search to see where you might be able to recycle them locally. Over 500 recycling points in Scotland will accept textiles.

Waste Electrical Appliances

There are lots of way to recycle Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), which includes large electrical appliances, small electrical appliances, fridges and freezers, flourescent tubes and televisions/monitors.

You can donate older but still working equipment to some charity shops, although you should check first as some shops will not accept them as they require safety testing. Also make sure to check with any furniture reuse schemes and initiatives as they often accept electrical goods too.

If you are donating a computer, you can use our local recycling services search to find out if local charities or even private companies may be able to take your old equipment.

Anything Else

A whole range of other materials and items can be recycled, from DVDs and old videos to broken furniture, gas bottles, printer cartridges and even bicycles. In some areas, you can also recycle food waste. Our local recycling services search can help you find out where to recycle many different materials.

Find out how to

compost food waste

See what else can go in a basic compost bin and find out about composting with worms and other methods.

Find out more

Arrange free collection of larger items

If you have large items at home that you no longer need and are still in good condition, you can have them collected for free by calling the National re-use phone line. Simply call 0800 0665 820 from anywhere in Scotland or fill in the online form. The phone line can arrange for a local re-use organisation to collect your item and pass it on to be used by someone else. From bed frames, mattresses, to wardrobes and sofas, armchairs, washing machines to TVs and bikes – the phone line can arrange free pick up of items that are in good condition and could be used again. Donate today