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See also Cards/cardboard,plastic and glass. You can reduce packaging waste by buying items loose such as fruit and vegetables and choosing items that are not over-packaged. Buying concentrated products and buying in bulk saves you money and reduces packaging, Split items between friends or family if you have too much to use at once or don’t have the storage space. You can use margarine tubs etc. for storing left-over food instead of using foil or clingfilm. If you buy something that you would in the future replace or upgrade like electronics etc. keep the original packaging allowing you to sell the item for a bit more and insuring it will be adequately packaged and saving you money by reusing the packaging it came with to sell it on. Depending on the material packaging can be put into your kerbside recycling bins.


In 2007 400 million liters of paint were sold in the UK of which around 56 million were unused enough to fill two Olympic sized swimming pools! Paints, varnishes and wood stains often contain solvents, which are used in the manufacturing process to keep the products in a liquid state. oil-based paints in particular contain hazardous chemical including heavy metals. Use water based paints when possible or try plant-based paints which are as effective as regular paints but do not contain toxic substances. Available from some DIY/decorating shops or by mail order. Please don’t paint down drains.


See also unwanted mail/faxes. Including magazines and newspapers every year, the average family in the UK throws away six trees worth of paper. Use both sides of paper when writing and printing and use old envelopes as scrap paper for notes etc. Ask your local doctor/dentist surgery if they take magazines for use in their waiting rooms. You can also put paper in your blue recycling bin or can be taken to your local recycling center. You can also buy recycled stationary. available from some shops and charity catalogue.


Instead of using non refillable ball point pens consider using pens that can be refiled with new ink. You can also get refillable highlighter pens. to recycle your pens and pencils you can request a pen recycling box from Terracycle.


Local schools or youth groups may be interested in unwanted piano’s in good condition.


You can reuse pillows by cutting them down and making them into cushions. Pillows cannot be taken to textile recycling points because their is currently no market for the materials inside them and they could cause problems by blocking up the recycling points hatch.



_MG_6460Plastic bottles

Try to avoid if possible buying shower gel or liquid soap. a bar of soup, solid or concentrated shampoos and conditioners last much longer, are often less expensive and use less packaging. If you use bottled water, save money and resources by buying a water jug with a filter to use instead you can also reuse your water bottles after you’ve finished them by washing them out and refilling them. You can save money, reduce plastic  and reduce the amount of chemicals you use by making and using your own household cleaning products. They are easy to make and often use simple and easily available ingredient’s such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. for recipes do a search online for environmentally friendly cleaning product recipes. You can also cut of the tops of plastic drinks bottles to make an instant funnel the bottom half makes a mini greenhouse for individual seedlings (pierce for ventilation). Fill a plastic bottle with water and place in the toilet cistern to save the amount of water you use when flushing.Plastic drink bottles can also be put into your green recycling box. Please note that no other types of plastic other than bottles are accepted for recycling in East Lothian, only type 1 (PET/PETE) and type 2 (HDPE) bottles are accepted. Check the bottom of the bottle for the type of plastic. It is possible that other types of plastic will be collected for recycling in the future as the local markets for these plastics continue to improve.

Plastic Bags

Use the SNUB (Say no to unwanted bags) Technique when you go shopping by reusing bags and when getting new bags get bags for life at your local store as these provide strong reusable plastic bags that can be taken back to the store to be replaced for free if they develop holes or get worn. You can also buy unbleached cotton bags which can be easily washed and used again and again these can be ordered online or bought at some stores like Asda. Charity shops also accept clean carrier bags for reuse. Asda also has plastic carrier bag recycling facilities.

Plastic food trays

When possible try to buy loose fruit and vegetables as plastic food trays currently cannot be recycled.

Expandable polystyrene (EPS) and bubble wrap

EPS is the white polystyrene commonly used as protective packaging. Try to use scrunched up paper as packaging instead of buying polystyrene. This can then be recycled after use.

Plastic vending cups

Minimize use by using non-disposable cups and glasses that can be used again and again As these cannot be recycled and must be put in general waste.


You currently cannot recycle polythene so i must be put into your green general recycling bin.


Plywood is accepted at your local recycling point.