COVID-19 waste and recycling


New national campaign launched

A new national campaign by Zero Waste Scotland has been launched to help households manage their waste during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with lots of useful advice and information.

Are community recycling centres open?

Our community recycling centres (CRCs) are open with some restrictions still in place. Please see our dedicated pages for more information.

What do I do with excess waste?

Excess waste can be taken to community recycling centres. Please see our dedicated pages for more information.

Please maximise the use of your recycling bin and food caddy to minimise the waste in your general waste bin. 

Find out more about what you can put in your recycling bin.

Can I present excess recycling waste alongside my bin for collection in a plastic bag?

Yes, following feedback, we will be collecting excess recycling waste in any tied or secured plastic bag alongside your recycling bin. The exception is black bags, we can’t accept recycling in these bags.

Can I receive a larger bin?

We are receiving a high volume of requests for larger bins. In line with long term guidance, we will only issue larger bins in very specific circumstances such as households with five or more permanent residents or for specific health reasons.

Our waste services are under significant pressure at this time and we would therefore kindly request that before requesting a larger bin, householders:

  • consider the waste they are generating, can you safely hold onto items until a future point or can you hold off doing jobs that will generate a large amount of waste
  • make sure they are using recycling and food waste collection services effectively by putting the right waste in the right bin

We appreciate that there will be a number of households where there is a genuine need for a larger bin and we want to be able to prioritise these cases. Please be aware that we may not be able to respond to your request as quickly as we would like. However, we will work with these households to find an alternative short term arrangement.

Are the bottle banks still open?

Our bottle banks remain open at this time. Residents can continue to dispose of bottles in the normal way.

Are bins being collected as normal?

See our domestic waste and recycling or trade waste and recycling pages for information on this.

What should I do with my waste if I or someone in my household has symptoms of COVID-19?

The following details the NHS Inform ‘Stay at home’ waste disposal advice as outlined on 18 March. Please check NHS Inform for up to date advice:

You can securely store personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths within disposable rubbish bags. These should be:

  • placed into another bag
  • tied securely
  • kept separate from other waste in your room
  • put aside for at least 72 hours before being putting in your usual external household waste bin

Other household waste can be disposed of as normal.

Will you accept excess general waste?

In the current climate when many people are at home please be mindful of the amount of waste you are producing.

Our long term policy on excess waste remains in place, that is excess waste should not be presented at kerbside and will not be uplifted.

This position will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and amended as and when necessary. In the meantime we will continue to uplift your general waste bin as normal until further notice.

Please ensure you are using the kerbside recycling and food waste collection services effectively. Putting the right waste in the right bin will maximise the capacity of your general waste bin and will also help protect the environment.

We would also ask residents to take any excess bagged general waste to the CRCs. Make sure you read the restrictions before visiting.

Will you continue to accept excess kerbside recycling?

Yes, we will accept excess kerbside recycling either in clear bags or dry flat packed cardboard.

My bin has been missed are you going to come back and collect it?

We will aim to continue to collect missed bins/sacks within five days where resources permit. However please understand that it may not be possible to return for missed bins/sacks until your next scheduled collection day.

Is there anything else I should be doing to help?

  • follow COVID-19 guidance on NHS Inform
  • clean your hands, before and after you have presented your wheeled bin or food bin, by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitiser. This will help protect you, the people you live with and the refuse collection staff. This step is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of passing infection to others
  • once you have presented your wheeled bin or food bin for collection we would appreciate it if you could wipe down the handles with usual household cleaning products (detergents or bleach) or an antibacterial wipe/spray