Aberdeenshire Council awarded £3.4m to improve household waste collections and increase recycling

Aberdeenshire Council has been awarded more than £3.4 million to help significantly increase recycling rates across the region and cut the volume of unnecessary waste going to landfill.

By Dawn Renton
Thursday, 20th January 2022, 4:02 pm
Households will receive a new bin as the council moves to a new 3-weekly collection cycle

The funding is from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund.

It means the Council will move to 3-weekly household collection cycle, which will see a new bin brought in:

Week 1: Non-recyclable waste, sometimes referred to as your landfill bin, plus food waste (using existing grey bin and food waste caddy)

Week 2: Paper & card plus food waste (using existing blue-lidded recycling bin plus food waste caddy)

Week 3: New containers collection plus food waste (this will be food & drinks cans, cartons, plastic bottles, pots, tubs & trays, all using a new bin, plus food waste caddy)

A date for the start of the new weekly cycle and delivery of new bins has not yet been agreed.

At the Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services meeting today (Thurs, Jan 20), councillors unanimously voted in support of the new cycle, which is expected to divert between 1,249 and 6,434 tonnes of material into recycling, increasing the council’s recycling rate from 44% in 2019 to 45-49% by 2023.

Estimated annual revenue savings to the council are anticipated to be in the region of £700,000.

Councillors also welcomed a review of service provision for the collection of containers, including glass, within 12 months of the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) being fully implemented and the full impact of the DRS has been realised.

They also instructed the director of Environment & Infrastructure Services to explore a business case to provide an opt-in chargeable garden waste collection service, with a report to be taken back to committee by June 2022.

While more than 70% of the material thrown away by Aberdeenshire households is recyclable using the services provided, in 2020 40.8% was recycled.

Residents can already recycle most of the packaging they bring back from supermarkets - including paper, card and cardboard, metal tins, cans, aerosols and foil, cartons, and plastic pots, tubs and trays.

But despite providing kerbside services and information on how to use them it’s not always enough – with around 28% of the contents of refuse bins being made up of food.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Peter Argyle, said: “I very much welcome the significant funding support being provided by Zero Waste Scotland and look forward to the introduction of this new three-weekly cycle which will provide our communities with the opportunity to recycle far more. We understand that change to collections will take time to bed in, but we have every confidence that our residents will not only understand them but be surprised with just how much more they will begin to recycle.”

Waste manager Ros Baxter said: “By providing residents with more recycling capacity and less non-recyclable capacity to better match the materials they throw away, it will encourage residents to recycle as much as they can.”

Large families, those with medical needs or with babies in nappies can request additional refuse capacity, as long as they can demonstrate that they use the recycling services available to them. Mindful that not everybody can accommodate an extra bin, the council will be working with communities to provide suitable alternatives, such as smaller or shared bins or bag collections.