The horrific mistake dawned on Pamela Norval (53) on the way home from Kinneil Recycling Centre, just outside Grangemouth, earlier this month.
She said: "We had been doing a bit of painting in the house and I took my rings off and wrapped them in some tissue. We were clearing up at the end of the day and putting things into black plastic bags.
“We got to the centre and emptied all the bags into the skip. On the way back home I looked down at my hands and saw i had not rings – then it all came back to me and I realised what must have happened.
“I just felt a totally sick, gut wrenching feeling for having done something so stupid.”
Pamela and husband of five years David (57) quickly checked if the rings were back at their Moncks Road, Falkirk home before hightailing it back to the recycling centre.
"The skip was half full when we dumped our rubbish and then three quarters full when we got back,” said Pamela. “I thought, there’s no chance of finding the rings in there. But for my own piece of mind we had to try and give it a chance.”
Pamela was able to tell the crew at Kinneil roughly which area in the skip she had dumped the rubbish and pointed out other items she had dumped, like masking tape and paint tins so they could narrow down their search.
“The staff were incredible and so helpful and understanding – they took it all onboard instead of telling me there was no chance I was going to find the rings. I mean I don’t know how often something like this happens, but it was the first time it had happened to us.”
The centre was closing for the day and the staff told Pamela they would put the skip aside and empty it by hand in the morning.
"They did warn us they had people throw things in by mistake before and they hadn’t managed to find those items. We thought there was no chance.”
The couple went to the centre the next again morning to see if they could help in the search, but were told they would not be able to.
"Then we got a call later that morning,” said Pamela. “It was a bit of a drawn out conversation, so I was thinking they hadn’t managed to find the rings. They said ‘the boys had done their best but … they managed to find both your rings’.
"I just felt so happy for them as well, it must be rewarding to search for something so small and actually find it.”
The staff admitted they had actually found the wedding ring quite quickly and then located the engagement ring a minute or so later.
"That night my husband said we need to put a lottery ticket on while our luck lasts,” laughed Pamela.
The couple is looking to go down to the centre again this week to thank the staff again for their amazing efforts.