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Community Waste Awareness

Information on roadshows and events throughout West Lothian

Community Awareness

pdf icon Privacy Notice-Operational Services-Waste Services general customer enquiries (email, letter and phone) [87kb]

The Waste Team attends free, local roadshows and events throughout West Lothian.  The roadshows and events provide waste minimisation and recycling information for residents. Information Leaflets and fun activities for children are available to residents as well as recycling questionnaires to gather public feedback on West Lothian recycling services.

We are on hand to answer questions and discuss the following recycling services:

Please join the West Lothian Council Facebook and Twitter pages for up to date information.

Community Waste Talks

Talks are available to community groups to discuss waste minimisation and recycling topics and the recycling services provided by West Lothian Council. Topics covered include:

  • What can be recycled in West Lothian
  • What happens to recycled materials once West Lothian Council collects it
  • Waste and recycling legislation

Each talk can be tailored to suit your group's time and information requirements. The Waste Team can travel to your group and provide all presentation equipment and information.

Information leaflets

A range of leaflets are currently being developed to provide residents with information about the recycling services available in West Lothian. Please download the electronic versions below.

Previous Activities

The Waste Education and Engagement Team held 2 Prom Boutique events in Bathgate Partnership Centre.  Both events were very successful and lots of happy young ladies went home with beautiful dresses.  The fashion industry is a big contributor of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, so by choosing to re-use our pre-loved dresses we all helped to prevent climate change.  The combined events also made £160 which was given to West Lothian Youth Action Project and The School Bank.

Lynn and Lindsey also visited Armadale Cubs for some fun Reduce, Reuse, Recycle activities.  Everyone enjoyed reusing newspaper to make paper pots to plant seeds and the biodegradable game encouraged everyone to think about the waste they throw away and how long it takes to break down. We also learned about reusing plastic bottles by using  milk bottles to make elephants. Every Cub also received  a recycled ruler and pencil made from recycled jeans!

The team also took a group of residents from Kirknewton to visit Levenseat, our grey, brown and food waste recycling facility.  Everyone learned about what happens to our waste after it has been collected and how this is processed before it is either recycled, landfilled or burned to produce energy from waste.

Recycling Residents

The Waste Education and Engagement team work with many residents and community groups in West Lothian and we are always interested in hearing about your experiences taken from our talks, trips and activities.  Please see some excerpts below from residents within West Lothian.

Recycling - let's get it right
An article by a local resident who recently visited our blue bin recycling centre, Biffa, alongside other Burgh Beautiful and Transition Linlithgow members.

In attempting to be responsible citizens I'm sure most of us try to do "our bit for the environment" by minimising waste and recycling what we can. We put our recyclables into our blue bins and the local council take away the contents. But what happens next? Members of Transition Linlithgow and Burgh Beautiful recently visited the Biffa Waste Recycling Centre in Broxburn to find out.

The centre is effectively a large, open warehouse which processes blue bin contents from both West Lothian and Edinburgh City councils. Trucks full of waste arrive every few minutes with waste then being shovelled onto a series of conveyor belts. Large revolving cylinders then sort the waste by size. From then on, it's a manual process to sort cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, tubs, and metal cans into storage areas below. It's a thankless task with everybody working at great speed, never taking their eyes off the seemingly unending line of waste.

At the end of the sorting process aluminium cans, steel cans, paper, cardboard and plastic are compacted into large bales which are then sold on to different companies for further specialised processing. Shockingly, there's also a huge mountain of discarded items which are sent to landfill.

So what did we learn?

About 30% of the blue bin material delivered from West Lothian ends up in landfill. This is due mainly to food contamination. Interestingly, this figure is much lower for Edinburgh council.

All items put into our blue bins therefore must be clean of food waste. Accidentally "binning" plastic containers with some of their food contents still inside will not only contaminate the contents of that bin but also the other blue bins that are emptied into the same waste collection truck, and potentially, more waste at the recycling facility.

Nothing should be put in plastic bags and then put into the blue bin. The sorting process goes at such a rate that the sorters simply don't have the time to empty these bags, so all will end up in landfill.

Check what types of plastic can be accepted on the West Lothian Council website. Materials such as cling film and items made from polystyrene cannot be recycled and go to landfill. Until recently much of this plastic was bought by China, but this stopped in January 2018, and so far, our own plastic reprocessing infrastructure has not developed sufficiently to cope with this type of waste.

The list of what can be put into our blue bins is on the West Lothian Council website at This includes the following:

  • Paper and cardboard (but remember to remove any plastic windows from envelopes and food packaging)

  • Plastic bottles (clear and coloured plastic is ok as are bottle tops. But all must be empty and rinsed clean)

  • Aluminium and steel tins and cans (empty and rinsed clean)

  • Plastic food pots, tubs, cartons, trays and lids (all need to be empty and cleaned)

Waste management is a costly business. Our council pay BIFFA to dispose of our blue bin contents; a figure which increases the more they have to send straight to a landfill site. Wouldn't it be great if we could all learn to recycle responsibly?

Waste Diary

Waste diary completed by a local resident showing how they manage with 1 grey bin on a fortnightly uplift.  The resident is a family of 4 with 2 children aged 6yrs and 9 months.


pdf icon Waste Diary [73kb]