brown bin

Compostable recycling

Brown bins are for garden waste only

East Lothian Councils’s brown bin collection is specifically for garden waste. No compostable food or drink containers should be put in the brown bin. 

The treatment solution is local to East Lothian and is not the mechanical or engineered solution that is required to treat other compostable materials. Treating locally allows the collection vehicles to tip at the point of treatment and vastly reduces the carbon footprint.  The system used in East Lothian is to shred and compost in open windrows utilising screening and this works extremely well.  Equally, by controlling the input we reduce contaminants/pollutants and produce a high standard of product suitable for direct application in gardens and horticulture/agriculture. 

The label ‘Fully compostable’ has many meanings in relation to required treatments to compost but the vast majority require in-vessel or automated/engineered treatments to compost down.  Such containers also contain residues of food waste which changes the required treatment type, increasing contamination and reducing the output (compost) specification.

At present there is no affordable way to separately collect and treat such packaging and this needs further action nationally. Not everything that is compostable, is compostable, it seems.