FAQ's - Your Waste and Recycling Service
The way we collect your waste changed recently, making it easier for households to recycle more of their waste and for Dumfries and Galloway to contribute to ambitious Scottish recycling targets and helps ensure we can do our part to tackle the climate crisis.
Below, we've answered some of the main questions being asked about the kerbside waste and recycling service. There is a separate section for questions on the upcoming rollout of a separate food waste collection service. If you'd like to know more about either service and how they affect you, please look for the relevant contact details below.
If you would like help understanding any of the following questions or need the information in another format, please telephone 030 33 33 3000. The information leaflet and other information on the new services can be translated into different languages or read out loud by using the 'Recite Me' and 'Speak/Translate' tools located toward the top of the webpage (dark green toolbar).
Kerbside Recycling Collection Service Questions:
Residents in Wigtownshire received a new kerbside recycling service in November 2020. The same service was rolled out to all other parts of the region between March and June 2021. Clean dry materials are now collected in different bins then sent for processing and recycling. The remaining 'general waste' is collected for processing at the Council's Ecodeco plant.
1. Why the change?
In July 2016 Dumfries and Galloway Council signed the Charter for Household Recycling in Scotland which included a commitment to improving household waste and recycling services and implementing the Code of Practice for Household Recycling in Scotland. The Council Plan 2017 - 2022 included a commitment to roll out a charter-compliant household recycling scheme across the region. The new service enables Dumfries and Galloway to help Scotland meet its ambitious target of recycling 70% of all waste by 2025.
In 2019 Dumfries and Galloway Council declared a Climate Emergency and identified a series of actions to achieve net zero carbon status by 2025, including recycling more of our waste.
Recycling can help to reduce carbon emissions as it takes less energy to make recycled products than using raw materials.
2. What bins should I have?
Most households should have three bins:
- Red-lidded 240 litre wheeled bin for plastics, metals and cartons.
- Blue-lidded 240 litre wheeled bin for paper, card and cardboard.
- Single grey, black or green bin for general waste.
Some properties may not have space for individual bins so will be provided with communal (shared) bins or recycling sacks instead.
3. What can I recycle?
You can recycle a wide range of items.
The red-lidded bin can be used to recycle plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays; metal tins, cans, clean foil and empty aerosols; and food and drink cartons.
The blue-lidded bin is used to recycle all paper, card and cardboard, provided it is not wet or contaminated with food.
Information on the service is available on our website , including what you can and cannot recycle, how to prepare materials correctly for recycling and how to recycle other items that are not collected at the kerbside. The information is also available in a leaflet, you can request a copy by phone on 030 33 33 3000 or download a copy of the leaflet
4. Can I recycle glass bottles and jars?
To recycle glass bottles and jars, take them to any Recycling Point or Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) - you can find out where your nearest one is using the Find My Nearest Tool
There are over 100 glass recycling points and Household Waste Recycling Centres across the region.
There is no need to separate glass colours, just rinse, remove lids and tops and put them into the recycling point. Coloured glass is separated during the recycling process to produce new green, brown or clear glass.
Glass Recycling Points should only be used between 9am and 9pm to avoid disturbing neighbours. Please do not leave glass bottles and jars on the ground if the recycling points are full - this is dangerous and could cause damage or injury if smashed.
You can report a recycling point that is full by calling 030 33 33 3000.
5. Why is glass not collected from the kerbside?
In 2022/23, the Scottish Government is introducing a new 'Deposit Return Scheme' (DRS) on certain drinks containers, including glass. Scotland's DRS expects to see 85% of glass drinks bottles returned via the scheme rather than being collected by us at the kerbside for recycling.
Once DRS is introduced, shoppers will pay a deposit of 20p for drinks containers at point of purchase. The deposit is refunded when you return the container to a retailer/collection point. The retailers will send the 'empties' on for recycling.
For further information visit: www.depositreturn.scot
Once DRS is operational, we will only be collecting a small percentage of the glass items we currently collect, making kerbside collections for glass unsustainable and not cost-effective at this time.
The recycling service is also influenced by the reprocessing infrastructure we have locally, financial costs, best practice guidance and environmental benefits.
6. What about food waste?
In late September/ early October 2021 a new weekly food waste collection service will be provided to residents in Annan, Dalbeattie, Dumfries, Gretna and Lockerbie.
Further questions are covered in the section below on the Separate Food Waste Collection Service.
For residents outwith these towns, food waste can be placed in your non-recyclable waste bin.
Home composting is a great way of turning unwanted kitchen waste into compost for the garden. It also reduces the environmental footprint of disposal. Help and guidance on what foods can and cannot be composted at home, see our 'Garden Waste' pages at: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/20774/Garden-Waste
7. What about garden waste?
Currently, garden waste is not collected separately but there are a number of ways to deal with your garden waste:
Home composting is a great solution. It avoids transport and processing costs, reduces CO2 emissions, and gives you free organic matter for your garden. For advice on home composting, see:
Garden waste can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) where you can dispose of it free of charge and it is used to produce compost.
If you are unable to home compost or take your garden waste to a HWRC, you can arrange a bulky uplift. We charge a fee for this service. For details see:
Small quantities of green waste can be placed in your non-recyclable waste bin. This will be sent to the Ecodeco MBT facility where it will be shredded, dried and composted (the compost produced has limited uses because it is contaminated with plastics, etc.).
8. How big are the bins?
Most households have three standard sized wheelie bins, each with a capacity to hold 240litres of waste or recycling. They measure approximately 1140mm (H) x 740mm (D) x 570mm (W).
Larger communal (shared) bins may be considered where limited space to store bins might be a problem, e.g. for terraced properties with no access to rear gardens.
To discuss this option, contact our Waste Collections Team:
- by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- by phone on 030 33 33 3000
9. I have smaller sized bins, can I swap them for larger?
Smaller sized bins (110, 120 or 140litre capacity) can be exchanged for a set of standard 240litre recycling bins. Please contact us if you would like to change:
- by email at email@example.com
- by phone on 030 33 33 3000
We will not supply a larger non-recyclable waste bin unless you also request larger recycling bins. This is to encourage our communities to recycle. You cannot have a larger non-recyclable waste bin with smaller recycling bins.
10. Can I have additional recycling bins if I need them?
Squashing and flattening items such as plastic bottles and cardboard boxes can help to use the recycling bins to their full capacity. But if you are producing more recycling than will fit into these bins, we can provide additional recycling bins free of charge.
You can contact us using our online reporting app https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/FaultReporting/Waste/NewBin
11. I use bags instead of bins - can I still recycle?
Properties that use Council-supplied bags for their waste can use the new recycling service. We can supply you with weighted re-usable hessian sacks for your recycling instead of wheelie bins. You will receive:
- 2 blue recycling sacks for paper and cardboard
- 2 red sacks for plastics, metals and cartons.
You can ask for more sacks if you need them.
Leave your recycling sacks at your usual collection point on your collection day to be emptied and returned. You should continue to use your Council supplied sacks for your non-recyclable waste. Other non-council sacks or bin bags will not be collected.
If you want to change from hessian sacks to wheelie bins for recycling, you can do this online using our 'Report It' app: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/
12. How often will my bins be collected?
Your non-recyclable waste bin is collected fortnightly and your recycling bins every 4 weeks. The recycling bins are collected on the alternative week between your non-recyclable waste collections, and always on your usual collection day.
Grey non-recyclable waste bin
Blue-lidded recycling bin
Grey non-recyclable waste bin
Red-lidded recycling bin
You will only present one bin for collection each week on your usual collection day.
You can check the collection day and what bin to put out, as well as viewing or downloading your collection calendar using our bin checker tool.
13. Can I change the size of my non-recyclable waste bin?
If you have a smaller sized bin (120 or 140litre capacity) for your non-recyclable waste, you can swap it for a 240litre non-recyclable waste bin but will have to change to a set of 2 x 240litre recycling bins so that you have three bins of the same size.
You cannot have a larger non-recyclable waste bin with smaller recycling bins.
Larger general waste bins can be exchanged for a smaller capacity bin.
You can request a change of bin size online using our 'Report It' app: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/
14. Can I get an additional non-recyclable waste bin?
Households are provided with a single 240litre bin for non-recyclable waste. If 6 or more adults live permanently in the household or if you are generating additional waste due to medical reasons, you may be entitled to additional capacity.
If you meet one of these criteria, you can apply for additional capacity online: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/
15. Why do some households have more than one non-recyclable waste bin?
We only provide one general residual waste bin to each household, however some properties have collected more than one bin over the years. Collecting and processing waste from multiple residual waste bins is costly and causes delays for our crews. It also discourages householders from fully utilising their recycling bins, so we will be removing any unauthorised bins over the next few months.
16. Can I leave extra waste beside the bins for collection?
No, waste left by the side of a bin will not be collected.
If bins are overfilled so that the lid doesn't close they will not be emptied as this can cause problems for the collection crews when loading.
Additional non-recyclable and recyclable waste can be disposed of at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre, or you can arrange for a bulky uplift.
Extra recycling bins can be provided free of charge by contacting us online at https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/
17. Can I use wheelie bin liners in my recycling bins?
No, all recycling should be placed in the blue and red-lidded bins loose and not bagged as we cannot recycle the bags. The items being placed into these bins should be clean, dry and washed.
You can use bin bags or liners in your general non-recyclable waste bin.
Certain larger supermarkets now accept plastic carrier bags, bread bags, etc. for recycling.
18. Can you provide assistance with my bins?
We can apply for an assisted pull-out service. On your collection day, our operatives collect the bin from your house, empty and return it to the house.
If you currently do not receive an assisted pull-out service and think you may be eligible, you can apply for assistance by contacting us:
- online at https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/
- by phone 030 33 33 3000
You will be asked to confirm every two years that you still require an assisted pull -out service.
19. I am partially sighted; how will I access the recycling service?
The recycling bins have notches on them to help users distinguish between the different bins. The bin for paper, card and cardboard has one notch on the front lip of the lid, and the bin for plastics, metals and cartons has two notches on the lid.
The information leaflet that provides details of how to use the different bins is available in different formats on request e.g. large print and an audio version can be accessed on our website using the 'speak/translate' facility.
20. I own a holiday home and run it as a business, how will this affect my domestic waste uplifts?
Holiday homes are not domestic properties and therefore must have a trade waste agreement in place either with the Council or a private registered waste management contractor.
Dumfries and Galloway offer commercial waste collections, based on collecting your non-recyclable waste fortnightly and recyclable waste every 4 weeks, in line with the household waste recycling service. A list of our fees and charges can be found at: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15593/Commercial-waste-collection
21. Where does my recycling go?
Paper, card and cardboard collected from your blue-lidded bin or sack will be baled and sent to reprocessors for recycling into newspapers and packaging.
Plastics, metals and cartons from your red-lidded bin or sack will be sorted, baled and sent to reprocessors for recycling into new products.
Glass collected at Recycling Points and Household Waste Recycling Centres will be sorted, crushed and sent to reprocessors for recycling into new glass products.
More details can be viewed at: [insert link to; https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/22036/What-Happens-to-my-Waste-and-Recycling- ]
22. Does my waste end up in landfill?
The Council aims to avoid disposing of waste to landfill wherever feasible. We encourage residents to firstly consider if they can reduce the amount of waste they produce, e.g. using refill schemes rather than buying packaged products. Some waste can also be reused, e.g. furniture or white goods which are surplus to requirements but still functional.
After reducing or re-using waste, recycling is the next best option. Placing waste into the general non-recyclable waste bin should be a last resort for materials which are not suitable for reuse or recycling.
The Council's Ecodeco MBT plant was built to avoid sending all of this residual waste to landfill. The plant continues to process the region's residual waste with a small percentage of materials extracted for recycling and the remaining being sent for energy recovery, creating energy from waste, rather than being landfilled.
Waste placed in your recycling bins does not go to the Ecodeco plant. Instead, it is sent for sorting and processing to produce new 'virgin' materials.
23. What are the benefits of recycling?
Recycling converts the waste materials we all produce into useful new materials and objects. Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill or incineration, helps protect the environment and is a part of the solution to tackling our global climate emergency.
Recycling can also lead to local employment opportunities from recycling initiatives. It encourages producers to take more responsibility for their waste and can improve economic competitiveness.
Your efforts to separate your waste into the new bins will help Scotland and the region to meet its ambitious recycling targets and to promote the circular economy.
24. Why should I recycle my waste?
Everyone has a duty to manage their own waste correctly. Every year in Dumfries and Galloway we produce approximately 75,000 tonnes of waste, which works out to around 1 tonne per household. Much of this waste could be re-used or recycled.
Collecting recyclable items such as paper, card, cardboard, plastics, metals, and cartons maximizes recycling opportunities, reduces wastage and is cheaper than sending mixed waste for processing.
We are encouraging residents to recycle using the new wheelie bins wherever possible. The bins provided have been selected to ensure that you have sufficient capacity for your recyclable materials, based on a four-weekly collection cycle.
Sorting waste materials into different bins makes a huge difference to the efficiency of any recycling system and helps create better quality end products. This needs your participation to help make it work.
25. Do I have to recycle?
Whilst we cannot force you to recycle, we hope that everyone will play their part.
Section 46(4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires householders to use the bins or containers provided by the Council for waste and recycling collections and for the householder to place the correct waste material in the correct bins.
26. What happens if I don't recycle?
We are encouraging everyone to recycle wherever possible. While you will not be penalized if you do not recycle your household waste, your grey bin for non-recyclable waste bin will only be collected every fortnight.
27. Are there alternatives to recycling?
European, UK and Scottish laws all support the principle of a waste hierarchy where waste prevention and re-use are the most preferred options, followed by recycling (including composting), then recovery (including energy recovery), while waste disposal through landfill should be the very last resort.
In most cases, recycling is better for the environment than burning waste to produce energy and certainly better than sending materials to landfill. If you can reduce the amount of waste you produce or find a re-use for an item rather than placing it in a bin, it saves all of the CO2 emissions and costs of collecting, transporting and processing.
Zero Waste Scotland's website has lots of useful ideas and advice about reducing and re-using waste:
28. Why aren't you using electric vehicles?
We considered using electric vehicles to collect waste as part of the new service, but at this time electric refuse collection vehicles do not have sufficient range (i.e. battery capacity) to cover the large distances needed to collect waste in a rural area.
We are trialing two electric refuse collection vehicles to see if they may be suitable for some parts of the region (e.g. towns), and will monitor the development of electric vehicle technologies as it is possible that it will become feasible in the future.
A food waste recycling service will be rolled out to five towns within Dumfries and Galloway later this year. The following questions explain when the rollout will take place and in which areas, why it is being rolled out at all - and why not to all areas, as well as outlining how it will operate.
Further details can also be found at: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15254/New-Food-Waste-Recycling-Service
1. What areas will receive the new food recycling service?
A new weekly food waste recycling service will be rolled outin late September/ early October 2021 to residents in the following towns:
Residents in Stranraer are already able to recycle food waste using this service.
If you live on the edge of one of these towns, you can check if your postcode is included by entering your address into the 'Your waste collection schedule' tool on our website at: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/FaultReporting/Waste/Schedule
2. When will the new caddies be delivered?
Residents will receive a letter about the new service in the week commencing 6 September, explaining how to take part, what you can and cannot recycle and how to request more food waste liners.
The food caddies will be delivered to properties between 20 September and 9 October 2021 (flatted properties may need individual arrangements and this will take longer to set up). Collections will start the following week.
3. I received a letter about the new food waste service but haven't received any caddies, why is this?
We are delivering caddies to houses and other properties in the 5 towns that have individual general waste bins between 20 September and 9 October 2021.
Arrangements for flats and other properties that share communal waste bins will be made between October 2021 and March 2022 through contact with property owners, tenants, landlords or housing agencies. If you received a letter and haven't received your caddies within these timescales, please contact us:
- by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- by phone on 030 33 33 3000
4. How do I use the new food recycling service?
You will receive a small 5litre kitchen caddy, a stock of free biodegradable liners, a sticker and a larger kerbside caddy with a lockable handle. A detailed information leaflet will be delivered with your new caddies. However, a copy can also be viewed and downloaded at: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15254/New-Food-Waste-Recycling-Service
Add your house name or number to the sticker and fix it to the lid of your Kerbside Caddy. This will remind you of your collection day and make it easier to recognise your caddy on collection day.
Use the liners for the kitchen caddy. Put your food waste in and when it is getting full, tie it up and place the bag in the outside kerbside caddy, locking the handle. On collection day, simply place the kerbside caddy out in your usual collection place ready for our crews to collect.
You shouldn't need to touch the food waste once it has been bagged up in your kitchen caddy. The liners minimise odours and locking handle on the kerbside caddy stops rodents getting to it and reduce the risk of caddies opening if blown over.
Collections will be weekly on the same day each week (not necessarily the same day as your other bins though). The sticker indicates your collection day, so remember to fix it to your caddy. You can also check this using our 'Your waste collection schedule' tool at: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/FaultReporting/Waste/Schedule
5. What can I put in my food caddy?
Food waste recycling is a clean and easy way to get rid of your unavoidable food waste. This includes tea bags, eggshells, banana skins, meat and fish bones, vegetable peelings, pet food and leftovers.
An information leaflet will be delivered with your caddies and details are available on our website at: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15254/New-Food-Waste-Recycling-Service
6. Do I have enough food waste to warrant using this service?
Everyone has food waste - whether it's unavoidable food waste such as tea bags, bones, eggshells or leftovers, even small amounts make a difference when they are recycled. Even if you think you don't produce much food waste, why not give the new service a try - you might be surprised at how quickly your caddy fills up!
7. When can I start using my new caddies?
As soon as the caddies are delivered, you can start using them. The first collection day will be around one week after they arrive.
8. Where do I get extra liners from?
Extra liners are freely available. When you are running out, simply tie a liner to the handle of your kerbside caddy on collection day and our crews will leave a new roll for you.
You can also collect liners from our Customer Service Centres (check before visiting as this may be subject to Covid-19 restrictions).
Only use the biodegradable liners provided by Dumfries and Galloway Council and to reduce the risk of spillages, please do not place 'un-bagged' food in your kerbside caddy.
9. Why should I recycle my food waste?
Using the new recycling service means your food waste can be turned into valuable resources such as agricultural fertilisers and energy. The Carbon footprint of recycling food in this way is less than it would be if your food waste is placed in your general waste bin.
This will help Dumfries and Galloway to help Scotland meet its ambitious target of recycling 70% of all waste by 2025, as well as supporting the Council's mission to achieve net zero carbon status by 2025.
10. What happens to my food waste?
Food waste is collected in specialist collection vehicles, then bulked up for onward transportation to a recycling plant. There are no suitable recycling plants in Dumfries and Galloway, so we have to go out to the waste and recycling market to find a suitable supplier. At the plant, the food waste is shredded and heat treated in a sealed tank using a process called 'anaerobic digestion'. This releases methane that is used to generate electricity for the UK grid. Solid materials are processed to provide agricultural fertilizers that have multiple uses including food production.
11. Is it not better to reduce food waste than to recycle it?
It is always better to reduce waste, however everyone has unavoidable food waste. Much of this can be turned into valuable compost for the garden using compost heaps or bins, wormeries or bokashi bins. For anything left over or if you are unable to re-use your food waste in this way, the new service is a convenient way of recycling it.
For advice on home composting, see: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/20762/Home-composting
12. I don't want the caddies, what should I do with them?
We would encourage everyone to try the new food waste recycling service but if having tried it you decide you do not want to participate, you can keep the caddies to use as storage boxes, etc. Alternatively, take them to a Household Waste Recycling Centre and inform our operatives so that they can be stored for re-use.
13. Why don't we have a local composting system?
The amount of food waste collected in rural areas is low and as yet, no commercial companies have developed suitable recycling plants within the area. We use the waste and recycling markets to find the most economically advantageous, suitable solution for processing and disposal.
14. Why not collect garden waste and food waste together?
We looked at best practice across other Scottish local authorities and further afield. Although a small percentage do collect mixed food and garden waste, accepted best practice indicates that this is best avoided as it limits potential end uses and can be costly to run.
Instead, we are exploring options for a potential garden waste collection service that would cover the whole region.