Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of some of our most frequently received enquires and their answers.

General Questions (8)

Glass kerkside collection is costly. If glass colours are mixed up they can only be used as aggregate which is a less valuable resource than recycled glass. Glass that is segregated into different colours at recycling points can be recycled into new glass.

Use your blue bin to recycle card, paper, plastic bottles and cans if you are not visiting other recycling banks. However separated recyclate has less chance of becoming contaminated and will essentially be of more value as there is not a an extra sorting process involved. Highland Council encourage people to make use of their recycling centres/points as much as possible and to take any extra materials to them. 

The 'blue bin' materials are sorted into the 4 waste streams i.e paper, cans, cardboard, plastic bottles when they reach the MRF in the central belt. The separation process is done by machinery and by handpicking some of the recyclate and this is when paper and cardboard will be separated. The 4 materials are then sent of to different reprocessors to be recycled

The materials collected in the Highlands for recycling are sent to various reprocessors to be turned into new materials. Highland Council have received good feedback from all of their reprocessors about the quality of the materials they send to them. Depending on the market at the time, the reprocessors will find the best value option for recycling the different materials -  this might be in the UK or overseas but it will be recycled. The only time a local authority will send materials collected for recycling to landfill is if the material is contaminated with another material which has made it difficult to recycle.

Glossy paper will take longer to break down and might release chemicals into your compost. It is probably better to pass magazines on to be reused by doctors surgeries, dentists etc or to family and friends before sending them for recycling.

A compost bin will benefit from introducing paper to the mix - a lot of people will add shredded paper, food contaminated paper etc. to their compost bins. For people with no access to paper recycling facilities or who live a long way from a paper bank then composting will be an ideal way to avoid putting the paper to landfill. It does however depend on the volume of paper, if you have large amounts of paper then it would be more practical to take it to a recycling bank or put it in with the kerbside collection. The quality of the paper collected in the Highlands is high and goes on to be turned into mainly newsprint and other paper products. As the recycled paper is turned back into newsprint then in essence it reduces the reliance on restarting the paper making process from scratch. So the answer depends on personal circumstance and the volume and type of paper. However it is good to compost paper which can't go into the recycling banks such as damp paper and  paper towels.

Plastic bottles must be clean. This can include shampoo bottles, detergent bottles, drinks bottles etc.

The Highland Council requests householders to put any bottle caps in the recycling bins as of September 2015.


Plastic bottle tops are collected by some charities and also by Lush.


Metal jar lids can be placed in the blue bin and can recycling banks at recycling points and recycling centres across the Highlands.