Learn the tricks of the trade in Recycling Week - Scott Arthur

​Did you know that it’s the nation’s annual week of celebrating recycling? ​This year, Recycle Week is celebrating its 20th anniversary and it’s incredible to think how far recycling has come in Edinburgh in that time.

At the start of the millennium the city was just starting to roll out kerbside collections for blue and red boxes – allowing residents to recycle items from their doorstep other than paper for the first time.

Work was taking place to expand all recycling services for tenements and flats and improve garden waste, and it would be some time before we’d see at home food collections.

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Twenty years ago, we were recycling just over 11.5 per cent of household waste. Now we’re recycling around 40 per cent with less than 2 per cent going to landfill, which is something we should all be proud of.

And, as we work to tackle the remainder, it feels right that the theme for this year’s Recycle Week is ‘missed capture’ – all those items that can be recycled but are commonly missed in the home.

In Edinburgh, residents are really good at recycling. In fact, they’re able to recycle around 70 per cent of everyday items from home, and even more materials like wood at household waste recycling centres.

To get even better, we need to make sure we help you sort and understand what happens to your waste. So, if you aren’t sure whether something can be recycled or not, we now have an online recycling sorter tool which can help you if you’re in doubt

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Find out what, how and where to recycle by typing in the item and we’ll tell you if we can recycle it, which bin to use or where to take it. Don’t forget the bathroom bin – our waste teams find empty aerosols and shower gel bottles to be some of the worst offenders when it comes to items we’ve forgotten to sort properly.

If you have any unwanted smartphones, tablets, laptops, cables and cameras you may be interested in a partnership we’ve launched with the Edinburgh Remakery.

Tech donation boxes are travelling between Central and Wester Hailes Libraries and at the South East Locality Office to give a second life to your old tech items and donate them to others in the community who need them.

The Remakery will refurbish and repair them instead of throwing them away. Items donated in the first two weeks, helped save 13,760 Kg (CO2e) in carbon emissions.

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Reducing emissions is, of course, key if we are to meet Edinburgh’s ambitious net zero 2030 target. This is a big aim, but we do need to be aspirational if we want to ensure the climate emergency remains a key priority for our city.

The next decade is critical and the climate and cost of living crises are not going away so, please, take a moment to learn more about how to recycle in your area on our council website this Recycling Week.

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