What happens to your recycling

The materials collected from the kerbside are weighed and bulked up at our bulking stations which are located across the Highland region. The material is then transported to Biffa’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Broxburn, Edinburgh. 

At the MRF, the mixed recyclable materials are sorted into individual material streams (for example, plastics, metals, cardboard, and paper) using a combination of automated optical sorting technology, magnets and manual sorting.

The sorted materials are then baled and sent either for further sorting or straight for remanufacture. For example, once plastic packaging has been sorted into its different types it is turned into flake ready to be reformed into new plastic containers or bottles.

Similarly sorted paper or cardboard is turned into pulp and remade into new paper or packaging products.

There are strict environmental regulations, set out by Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) that Council’s and waste management companies must adhere to, which ensure that the recycling collected can ultimately be put to its intended use – helping to protect the environment, not harm it.

Paper, card, metal tins and cans along with plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays can all be recycled in the blue bins.  All items must be clean and free from food residues as this can spoil the paper and card. 

what you can recycle in your blue bin

In 2022 approximately 15,700 tonnes of blue bin materials were sent for recycling across the Highland region. At present approximately 35% of the total waste generated by householders and businesses in the Highland region is recycled.

To find out what happens to your materials and the journey they take, see our Recycling Journeys presentation.



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