15 December

West Lothian Council is reminding local residents that strict rules are now in place to cut down on bin contamination rates in West Lothian.

Contamination is the term used when the wrong material is placed into the wrong bins.  Placing the wrong material in your bins can cause problems at the recycling facility where materials are processed.

Contaminated material can't be separated or cleaned, meaning whole bin lorry loads can end up being disposed of rather than recycled. This is very harmful to the environment and is expensive to dispose.

West Lothian Council has now stopped collecting bins that are contaminated in an effort to increase the amount of waste that is recycled and the council is appealing to residents for their support in tackling the problem. Other councils in Scotland have already adopted this approach.

A transition period has been ongoing for several months where the council has continued to lift contaminated bins and left tags on contaminated bins advising the householder of the planned changes, and to provide advice on what should be placed in each bin. The transition period has now ended.  The council will now continue to tag contaminated bins but these bins will not be collected until the contamination is removed, and the bin is represented at the next collection cycle with the correct material only. Customers who continually contaminate the bins will receive a letter from the council advising them of the issue and giving further advice on what should be done to recycle properly and ensure that their bins are collected.  

The council will only empty bins when the contamination has been removed.

Advice will also be provided to the householder on what items should be placed within each bin to avoid further issues with contamination.

Tom Conn, Executive councillor for Environment & Sustainability said: "We are extremely grateful to the large numbers of householders that take time to ensure that they recycle properly and place the right items into the right bins.

"We appreciate that this is a change for some households but this is a huge issue for West Lothian. We must all change our behaviour and we all have an important role to play in recycling more and helping the environment. This change will help to increase recycling in West Lothian which is a hugely positive move.

"By making sure the right material are put into the right bins we can maximise the amount of materials we recycle in West Lothian - which is much better for the environment and will increase recycling in West Lothian. Not only is it better for our environment, but it will save the council money as less will be spent on expensive landfill fees. This will ensure that valuable cash savings can be better spent in the community which, given the financial pressures facing the council, will be absolutely critical in helping fund local services."

What goes into your bin?

We would like to encourage all residents to ensure everything put in their recycling bins is clean and dry, and remind you of the material which can be placed in each bin:

Blue - paper, card and cardboard.

For those who have a green bin, the blue bin should now be used exclusively for paper and cardboard. No other materials should be placed into blue bins.


Green - plastic bottles, tubs and trays, tins, cans, aerosols, foil and metal lids, food and drink cartons and empty plastic bags.

For reminders of what waste should go into each bin and to request an additional bin, please visit:  https://www.westlothian.gov.uk/bins