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// Your FirstPort Team

Recycling and waste reduction symbols explained

Elaine Bald, Area Manager and Business Development for FirstPort Scotland, takes a closer look at how Scottish homeowners recycle and reduce waste in their homes.

I’ve recently moved after 13 years in a flat in the West End of Glasgow to a house in Troon, South Ayrshire and for the first time in my life, I am the proud owner of not one, but four wheelie bins of my very own. There’s a green one, a blue one, a brown one, and a purple one, and let’s not forget the little grey one!

In Glasgow, our refuse arrangements were shared and located within a lane to the rear of the property. I admit that we weren’t as vigilant in recycling our household waste as we could have been. However, we did make use of our local authority Recycling Centre for glass and paper, and bulk items that we were able to drop off any day of the week. I’m delighted to find my local recycling centre in Troon is a mere five minutes away.

My son is also having to learn this new process of careful sorting of our refuse at home, and remembering which days our bins must be presented to the kerbside for collection (I have declared this his responsibility, although our wonderful 87-year-old neighbour will also keep us right).

Understanding the refuse arrangements for your home can be bamboozling, to say the least, and then there are recycling symbols on all the packaging – we are constantly peering at bits of plastic trying to identify so many symbols!

At FirstPort Scotland we recognise that many of our customers are new homeowners or in new areas (like me) or just might want to up their game in their own recycling habits (also like me) so we’ve made a downloadable Recycling Symbols Chart and the information below available for our clients.

We all lead busy lives and the world of recycling is huge, but it’s actually relatively easy to do your bit at home and reduce the amount of rubbish which goes to landfill. So, we’ve prepared a few handy tips to winning at understanding recycling arrangements and refuse disposal for your home.

  • Remember, it’s NEVER too late to start recycling and taking ownership of how you dispose of your refuse!
  • WHO COLLECTS MY REFUSE? In Scotland, your local council will provide you with details of the refuse collection arrangements for your home. To find your local council you can visit
  • LOCAL COUNCIL REFUSE COLLECTION: Once you have identified who is responsible for your refuse collection, you can visit their website to find the details of the arrangements and uplifts in your area, and whether charges apply to garden waste. Some local authorities provide handy colour-coded calendars that you can print to help you keep track of what’s happening and when.
    • Your council can give information on:
      • what rubbish it collects
      • what goes in your recycling bin
      • how to report a missed bin collection
      • how to find your nearest recycling centre
      • ordering new recycling bins for your home
  • RECYCLING LOCATIONS: To find your local recycling centre and recycling banks in Scotland, visit and enter your postcode. Recycling centres are great for disposing of large items that cannot be uplifted in your ordinary household waste and are usually free of charge for residential use for most items.
  • BULK ITEMS: If you can’t arrange to transport a large item to your local recycling centre, most local authorities provide a bulk uplift service for residents. Check out what services your local council offers free of charge and how to request an uplift.
  • ONE MAN’S TRASH IS ANOTHER MAN’S TREASURE: There are various ways to re-use items you no longer want which are in good condition by donating, selling and swapping. To find a list of organisations in your area who will collect donations, visit
  • CHANGING THE WORLD ONE MEAL AT A TIME: Love Food Hate Waste is here to help us all make the most of the food we love. By rethinking how we shop, planning our meals better and using up our leftovers, together we can make a big difference.
  • CHARITY SHOPS: Deliver and donate clothes, books, DVDs, and other household items to support a charity of your choosing. To find a list of your local charity shops, visit the Charity Retail Association at
  • RECYCLING SYMBOLS EXPLAINED: FirstPort Scotland customers can download a chart of recycling symbols from their online client account – sign in or register your online account using your customer reference number.
  • HAVE SOME FUN! Visit Recycle for Scotland to find out how you can engage your friends, family, colleagues, and community in fun campaigns from Teddy Bear Hospitals to Music Instrument Amnesties.

Untidy bin stores and abandoned bulk items are a frequent complaint we receive at FirstPort Scotland which causes frustration to residents and sometimes incurs additional costs to clear up. We’re taking this opportunity to communicate with over 11,000 homes in Scotland to help educate and encourage people to dispose of their refuse responsibly by getting to know their refuse storage facilities within their developments, and how to access local arrangements and resources.