WASTE DISPOSAL2019-02-04T15:17:28+00:00

Disposing of your waste

Whether you are travelling in your own campervan or motorhome or in a hire vehicle it is your responsibility to ensure you leave no trace of your travel and dispose of your waste in the correct manner.

This page gives helpful advice about disposing of all of the waste you may create whilst on a trip in a campervan or motorhome.

Touring Scotland whether in your own vehicle or a hire campervan or motorhome it is your responsibility to ensure that you are disposing of your waste correctly. There are a few types of toilet on board campervans and motorhomes.

The porta potti is a stand alone type toilet device that has a separate holding tank for the waste that you can empty with minimal fuss. Usually found in campervans as a great space saving device.

In larger campervans, panel vans and motorhomes you will find a fixed style toilet called a cassette toilet. This style looks like a toilet and the waste goes into a cassette below and emptied similar to the porta potti via a cassette.

If you are hiring a campervan or motorhome then you should be shown how to use your toilet facility if you have one on board and how to empty and maintain it. If you are not shown then it is extremely important to ask the hire company to show you before you set off!

Chemical toilet waste is also known as black waste and the emptying points at campsite or service point are called CDP – Chemical disposal point, Elsan disposal point or Black waste disposal point.

Chemical toilet waste should not be emptied ANYWHERE other than a designated area at a campsite or motorhome service point.

Under no circumstances should chemical toilet waste be emptied at the “Grey waste” emptying point, this is just for the emptying of your waste water tank NOT your toilet waste.

Your toilet cassette or porta potti should always be kept away from the fresh water area of a service point area.

Anybody seen disposing of waste other than in a designated area will be reported to the police.

The infrastructure in Scotland is different to other parts of the UK and some sites and waste disposal points can only take toilet waste where eco-friendly products have been used due to their sewage going into a septic tank and not into mains sewage.

Emptying non eco friendly chemicals into a septic tank can upset the bacteria and stop the tank from working effectively.

You may be asked to show what chemicals you are using so do be prepared if you are touring Scotland and don’t normally use eco-friendly products.

The eco friendly products you can buy are on this handy information poster as created by the team at Highland Campervans.

Waste water, also known as grey water is the water that goes down your sink and/or shower and collects in an onboard contained waste tank in your vehicle. Sometimes this is also piped into a separate holding tank that you attach to your vehicle.

This is the water that has been used to wash up, used for cooking or used for washing yourself in your campervan or motorhome. Generally it is pretty harmless but it does depend on what chemicals you are using and it can also contain pieces of food waste etc

This water, the same as your toilet/black waste should be emptied at a campsite disposal area to go into the sewage system for proper treatment. Although this area will be different to that where you empty your toilet waste. You will see the signs for “Grey waste disposal” and it will normally be a gully to drive along side that drains into an appropriate drain or a grate/manhole cover that you drive over and position your waste water tap on the vehicle to empty your grey waste into.

You should not empty your grey waste water anywhere other than a designated area on a campsite or motorhome service point. Do not empty your water in parking areas, on roads or laybys. Many of the drains on the road side are rain water drains and not suitable for water contaminated with chemicals or possible light food waste. Not only is this a health and hygiene risk it can also attract animals to the roadside which increases the risk of accidents.

If you are hiring a campervan or motorhome, make sure that you are shown where the waste tank drain points are and it is demonstrated how to empty the waste water. If you are not shown, do not leave until you are shown!

Refilling your onboard fresh water

Most campervans and motorhomes have onboard tanks that can hold fresh water for you to use for drinking, cooking, cleaning and washing.

It is very important to make sure that you are filling your tank safely and using water that is safe to drink, don’t just assume that water coming out of the tap is drinking water if there is not a sign. We are very lucky in Scotland to have fresh water supplies but for your welfare, always check.

Make sure that when you are using a fresh water point that you use the correct hose! Do not use a hose that has ever been used for emptying waste water as this could well be contaminated and make you very sick.

Always keep your fresh water hose of the ground as you do not want it to touch mud, grass, drains or anything that could cause an illness when you then put it into your fresh water tank.

If you are hiring a motorhome, you should be shown how to properly fill your fresh water and what hose to use. If you are not provided with a hose you must ask for one!

If you are really not sure about the cleanliness of that water, you can buy bottled water to drink very cheaply, please make sure to recycle the plastic responsibly!

One of the biggest rules of touring in a campervan or motorhome is to respect your surroundings, take only memories and leave no trace, so it completely goes without saying that you must take ALL of your general waste and rubbish with you to dispose of correctly.

Sadly campervans and motorhomes are blamed for litter being left behind and sometimes some disrespectful tourers do spoil it for the majority of the respectful campervan and motorhoming community who are very responsible when it comes to waste disposal and who also take time to litter pick in their own time and arrange events to help litter pick known areas that are bad for dumped waste, beaches, woods etc

Every campsite has general waste disposal facilities and the majority also have recycling waste facilities too. We highly encourage you to recycle as much waste as possible!

If you are stopped for food and there are not any bins or the bins provided are full, DO NOT leave your waste at the roadside or beside a full bin! Take it with you and dispose of it when possible or take it home!

Most super markets now have waste disposal and recycling bins and the majority of towns have a recycling centre (although be careful of height restrictions) We will be providing useful information about recycling centres on this page shortly.

There are some great campaigns to support for Scotland and we encourage you to read up on these before your journey.

Keep Scotland Beautiful – leading the way to improving Scotland’s environment, tackling a wide range of environmental issues, from reducing the amount of litter on our streets to cutting the carbon emissions that threaten our planet.

Give your litter a lift campaign  – Read what you can do to support this great campaign!

I Love SKYE campaign – Volunteer rangers and community clean ups on the Isle of Skye

If you see litter that has been left behind and you have a spare few minutes to make a difference and have a bag, please do what you can to clear it up and help us keep Scotland beautiful.


If you are travelling with pets on board it is as important to clear up after them as it is to clear up after yourselves!

Make sure that any pet toilet waste is collected in a bag and disposed of at the nearest “poo bin” or waste bin.