What happens to your waste?

Take a look at what happens to your recycling and waste after collection from the kerbside, Recycling Point or Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC).

From the kerbside:

Paper and cardboard

  • We sort and compact the paper and cardboard into bales in Dunfermline.
  • It’s transported to paper companies in the UK.
  • Your paper and cardboard is then recycled into recyclable paper & cardboard products.

Food and garden waste

  • Food and garden waste is taken to Fife’s Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant in Dunfermline.
  • This waste is placed in an enclosed unit called a fermenter. Gas is captured from the food and garden waste during the digestion process. This is used to generate electricity which is fed to the electricity network. Heat from this process is used to heat the plant and local buildings.
  • Once energy and heat is produced the material is composted into soil conditioner which is collected and used by Fife farmers.

Plastics, metal and cartons

  • Recent changes were made to materials accepted in the green bin. Food and drinks cartons now go into the green bin and plastic films, carrier bags and polystyrene should be disposed of in the blue bin (landfill).
  • Recycling guides were sent to all householders in February 2019 – please get in touch if you would like a copy.
  • The materials in the green bin are taken to a transfer station in Fife for bulking before being transported to and reprocessed by a fully licenced Materials Recovery Facility.


  • Non-recyclable waste is taken to a transfer station for bulking or delivered direct to a Fife landfill site.
  • Once tipped, the waste is compacted and covered by a layer of soil ready for the process to be repeated.
  • Gas is emitted from the waste, mainly methane and Carbon Dioxide.

From Recycling Points:


  • We collect glass in three different colours - clear, green and brown by using 3 different bins
  • One vehicle collects all 3 glass bins. It has 3 compartments to keep the colours separate
  • Glass can be recycled into new products, used as an aggregate or in sustainable water treatment technologies

Old clothes and shoes

  • A company based in Denny collects textiles and hand sorts the materials.
  • Good quality clothes go to charity shops or charity partners in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
  • Worn or damaged textiles are recycled into wiping cloths or sent for processing within the UK to include sound proofing within the automotive industry, carpets, underlay and mattress linings.

From Recycling Centres:

  • Batteries go to a specialised hazardous waste recycling facility.
  • Electrical Equipment goes to specialised companies, dismantled and recycled.
  • Fridges go to specialised companies, are degassed and their parts recycled.
  • Garden waste is processed within Fife. It is processed over 16 weeks using outdoor windrow composting to produce a soil conditioner which meets the quality assurance standard ‘BSI PAS 100’.
  • Gas cylinders are re-filled with gas and reused.
  • Metal goes to local scrap metal merchants for recycling.
  • Tyres can fuel cement kilns or shredded into rubber crumb.
  • Wood is sent to a local Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant for energy recovery.
Recycling Helpline (lines open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Friday)
Tel: 03451 55 00 22 Contact Recycling Helpline (lines open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Friday) online
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