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Recycle Week reminds us all of the need to be recycle more.

We have only been using plastic bottles for 65 years, yet a staggering 15 million of plastic bottles are used daily – and less than half of them get recycled.

East Lothian Recycling box collection

Currently over 95% of households in East Lothian have access to the fortnightly recycling box collection. Each household covered by the collection is provided with at least two recycling boxes:

 Green box  Blue box
 glass bottles and jars  paper (unwanted mail)
 food and drink cans  cardboard
 plastic bottles, pots, tubs, trays, tops & straws  envelopes (including windowed envelopes)
 empty aerosol cans & clean aluminium foil  telephone directories and Yellow Pages
 magazines, brochures and leaflets
 wrapping paper

Recycling box covers are also provided and these should be secured to the boxes by feeding the ties through the holes in the handle of box.

Collection day

You can check your collection dates online and download your recycling calendar by typing in your postcode and selecting your address.

Please present your boxes, with covers, on the kerbside by 7am on the day of collection:

  • use the covers to make sure the contents are secure
  • stack the blue box on top of the green box

Extra and replacement boxes and covers

Extra boxes are available to households that have too much material to fit into the boxes provided, but firstly please squash cans and plastics if you need more room.

Extra or replacement box covers are also available at Local Area Offices or by contacting Waste Services.

Missed collections

If you put the wrong items in your recycling box then the collection crew will leave them in your box after they have emptied it. If they are not able to separate the wrong items from the correct ones then they will leave the entire box unemptied. They should also leave you a yellow note to explain what they have left and why.

If you have presented your recycling boxes at the kerbside by 7am on the correct collection day and they have not been emptied, please contact Verdant, who carry out the collection on East Lothian’s behalf, on 0845 270 2880.

Assisted collections

If you would like to request an assisted collection, please contact Verdant, who carry out the collection on East Lothian’s behalf, on 0845 270 2880.

Collections from flats

If you live in a flat and are able to store a set of recycling boxes, without storing them in a communal hallway or stairwell, then you can take part in the recycling box collection. We are currently piloting the use of communal recycling banks for blocks of flats.

Properties not covered by the collection

If the recycling box collection does not cover your property, then the rural recycling bin collection will.

Collections on public holidays

Recycling collections are carried out as normal on most public holidays, with the exception of Christmas day, Boxing day, 1st & 2nd January.  Please make every effort to present your boxes at your usual collection point by 7am on public holidays, as collections may take place earlier than normal.  Collection arrangements for over the festive period will be advertised on this web site and in the local press during December.

Recycling centres locations and opening hours

The sites are located at:

Kinwegar Recycling Centre
A199 Haddington Road (near Wallyford Toll)
EH21 8JU
Dunbar Community Recycling Centre
Spott Road Industrial Estate
EH42 1RD
North Berwick Recycling Centre
Heugh Brae
North Berwick
EH39 5PS
Macmerry Recycling Centre
Macmerry Industrial Estate
EH33 1RD

Both Kinwegar and Dunbar Recycling Centres have a raised area so you can deposit material into the skips without climbing stairs. Please follow the one way systems at each site.

The sites operate seven days a week and are open as follows:

  • Summer (1st April to 30th September) 8.30am to 6.30pm
  • Winter (1st October to 31st March) 8.30am to 4.15pm

What can I take to a Recycling Centre?

 green garden waste  textiles and shoes  flourescent tubes
 cardboard  vegetable oil  household batteries
 scrap metal  engine oil  television and computer monitors
 rubble  gas cylinders  small electrical appliances
 solid timber  car batteries  fridge-freezers
 paper, light cardboard, envelopes and Yellow Pages  liquid food and drink cartons (Tetra-paks)  plastic bottles
 green, clear and brown glass  books  CD’s, DVD’s, video and audio tapes
 steel and aluminium cans and clean foil

The Centres also have facilities to deposit excess household waste, but this has to be separated into two different skips:

  • carpets, mattresses and sofas go in one skip, which is currently sent to landfill
  • the other skip is for mixed household waste, which is sent to be sorted; so anything that can be usefully recycled is removed before the rest is sent to landfill

Vans and trailers

If you intend to take waste to a Recycling Centre using a van or a trailer please take proof of address with you, for example a Council Tax bill, to show the attendant that you live in the area.  In addition, if you are using a hire van, please take the hire paperwork with you to show to the attendant.  We ask for these items to make sure that only waste produced in East Lothian is deposited at the Centres and that waste from a business is identified and dealt with accordingly.

Business users

Business users must present their SEPA Waste Carriers registration (where applicable) on arrival and complete a waste transfer note in order to deposit waste at a Recycling Centre.  Kinwegar and Dunbar Recycling Centres accept waste from businesses through a separate entrance, which is equipped with a weighbridge so business waste can be accurately weighed and charged for.

Other ways of recycling!


The Freecycle East Lothian group is open to all who want to “recycle” that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it’s a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door, feel free to post it. Or maybe you’re looking to acquire something yourself? Nonprofit groups are also welcome to participate too. One main rule: everything posted must be free. This group is part of The Freecycle Network, a not-for-profit organization and a movement of people interested in keeping good stuff out of landfills.


Borders Scrap Store deals in a fantastic range of unwanted materials that would otherwise go to landfill: buttons, cardboard, carpet squares, paint, wallpaper, wool and much more. Anything that can be used in arts, crafts and play will be considered, whether from local industries, businesses, households or individuals.

Perhaps you’re a company wanting to get rid of old wallpaper samples, or a dressmaker wanting to dispose of surplus fabrics. Either way, Borders Scrap Store would be delighted to hear from you. Donations can be collected although smaller items are usually left at the Selkirk and Musselburgh shops.

Member organisations pay an annual fee and can buy materials at its stores in Selkirk and Musselburgh, or from a van delivery service that operates in East Lothian, the Scottish Borders and other parts of Southern Scotland.

Charity Shops

Scotland’s charity shops are an essential part of our communities.

  • They play a vital role in waste prevention
  • raise millions of pounds for good causes each year
  • provide a huge range of volunteering opportunities.

You can download the Edinburgh Charity Shop and Reuse Map here or see a list of East Lothian charity shops here.

Rag Bag Scheme

The ‘Rag Bag’ recycling scheme has been developed to provide regular fundraising for schools, clubs, nurseries and various organisations UK Wide.

The scheme increases awareness about textile recycling and by increasing recycling rates we can help the environment by ensuring less material goes to landfill.

The scheme is completely FREE, and your school, club or organisation will be paid for every kg recycled.

Even more information!

Changeworks exists to improve quality of life and to protect the environment.  They are behind the excellent publication “Too Good To Waste” – available online here and Edinburgh Charity Shop and Reuse Map.