Waste and Recycling Advice


We have a target to reduce our waste going to landfill by 100% by 2020 and to recycle or compost 90% of that waste by 2020. We still have a way to go, but in the meantime our building users can help us reduce waste and make use of our comprehensive recycling facilities by following these simple steps.

Step 1: Reduce


It is far better to reduce waste produced in the first place. This saves transport and processing costs and emissions. Consider the following;

  • Do you really need the item? Does anyone else in the office or team already have one?
  • Can you buy a less harmful product? i.e. with more recycled content
  • Ask for documents to be supplied by email rather than in hard copy
  • Think twice before printing material that can be read on-line 
  • Photocopy and print double sided  
  • Make full use of existing stationery items before ordering new ones
  • Eat at the Employee Restaurant using the plates and cutlery rather than the disposable takeaway ones
  • Bring lunch to work in Tupperware rather than using plastic sandwich bags

Step 2: Reuse

Many items are disposed of before they are at the end of their life. Consider the following before throwing it away;

  • Use the un-printed side of paper for draft documents and notes
  • Use glasses or mugs rather than plastic cups
  • Use your own reusable cup for take away coffees and teas. You can even earn extra loyalty point when bringing your own cup
  • Reuse envelopes or use returnable envelopes

Step 3: Recycle

We have a comprehensive recycling system at the Scottish Parliament. Every effort to recycle items should be made before disposing in the non-recyclables bin.

Paper – blue label

  • Any colour of paper or mainly paper product
  • Staples do not need to be removed from paper
  • Windows do not need to be removed from envelopes
  • Wire or spiral bindings do not need to be removed from note pads

Cardboard – blue label

Any type of cardboard or mainly cardboard product

  • Coffee cup sleeves can go in here, but not compostable coffee cups

Plastic bottles – red label

  • Any type of plastic bottle including lid
  • No other grade plastic other than plastic bottles should go in here, other plastics will be incinerated as the best environment option for them in the non- recyclables bin
  • Labels do not need to be removed from glass jars or plastic bottles

Glass – green label

  • Any colour or type of glass
  • Labels do not need to be removed from glass jars or plastic bottles

Cans – grey label

  • Cans and tins, ideally with no food in, but do not need to be thoroughly clean

Food and Compostable packaging

  • Any food, cooked or uncooked
  • Food should be taken out of containers, unless the container is compostable
  • Compostable packaging including Scottish Parliament take away coffee cups, hot food containers, soup containers, salad containers and take away cutlery
  • Some other takeaway food containers are compostable (not Starbucks at the moment), it will state this on the packaging or have a symbol on it.
  • No plastic bottles with liquid in, these should go in the plastics recycling
  • Tissues and napkins are welcome in this bin

Non Recyclables – black label

  • Only plastics and items which can’t be recycled should go in here
  • No batteries or electronics (it is illegal to dispose of them in this bin)
  • This waste will be sent to be incinerated

There are also special disposal routes for special items such as batteries and electronic equipment.


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