Blue box and brown bin FAQs


What kind of paper can be recycled in the box?

Newspapers, magazines, office paper, unwanted mail (no envelopes), brochures, catalogues, telephone directories, shredded paper (in bags) and greeting cards.

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What kind of paper cannot be recycled in the box?

Envelopes, cardboard and beverage cartons (e.g. tetrapak).

Envelopes are not accepted as the gum and plastic windows found in envelopes interfere with the reprocessing cycle. 

Beverage cartons contain plastic, foil and cardboard, and are not suitable for recycling with paper

Cardboard is reprocessed separately as it is a different grade than paper therefore it should be kept separate from the paper. Cardboard can be recycled at a number of Recycling Centres, to find your nearest facility click here.

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What type of tins and cans should be put in the box?

Steel and aluminium food and drink cans. It is important that the food cans are rinsed out.  No need to take off the labels.

What if other materials are found in the box?

These will be left behind by the collector with a note to explain why.  

What about Kerbside collection of other materials for recycling?

The success of the current Kerbside recycling will be monitored, and as the infrastructure improves, additional materials may be collected for recycling. 

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What garden waste can go in the brown wheeled bin?

Grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, weeds, plants, leaves, prunings, cut flowers, tree loppings (up to 6 inches / 15 centimetres in diameter)
No stones or large quantities of earth or soil, timber, plastic bags, polystyrene, pots or animal waste. If the bin is contaminated with other material it will not be emptied.  A sticker on the bin will inform the householder to remove the contaminated material and the bin will be emptied on their next garden waste collection day. 
Garden waste facilities are also available at at a number of Recycling Centres, to find your nearest facility visit the Area Recycling Centres page.

Why can't kitchen waste go in the brown bin?

Any waste generated in a household kitchen is classified as "catering waste" as defined under the Animal By-products Regulations 2005. This legislation also defines the standards that a compost system must adhere to before catering waste can be processed. The Highland Council currently treats the garden waste collected in the brown bin in open windrow composting sytems. This type of system does not meet the required standard to deal with catering waste. The Council is currently investigating the use of In-vessel composting systems to enable catering waste to be collected and processed.

What happens to the materials once they are collected?

The materials are taken to a number of facilities in the Highlands where they are bulked up and then sent for reprocessing. The paper is sent to a paper merchant in Stirling and is made into newsprint. The cans are separated into steel and aluminium.  Steel cans are sent to Glasgow where they are dispatched for reprocessing;

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Can I buy the compost from the garden waste collection?

The compost made from the garden waste collections is not currently for sale.

Can I get an extra box or bin?

Currently there is no capacity to issue additional blue boxes or brown bins.

What about other recyclable materials?

There are recycling facilities for glass, textiles, scrap metal, electrical appliances, car batteries and engine oil at various Recycling Points and Recycling Centres throughout the Highlands.

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What about other areas.  Is there a possibility they will receive a collection later?

At the moment there is currently no service available in Wester Ross and North West Sutherland.

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