Residents in Aberdeenshire have around two weeks left to give their views on proposed changes to the area’s recycling and waste services, designed to ensure we all treat materials as a resource.
So far more than 1,300 people have taken part in a major consultation, voicing their opinion on efforts to push up the area’s recycling rate and reduce the volume of material sent to landfill.
A package of changes is being proposed, including reducing the size of non-recyclable bins, less frequent collections, increasing each household’s recycling capacity and improving the network of Household Waste Recycling Centres.
Two options to change kerbside waste collections are proposed as part of the revamped collection system and people are encouraged to share their views with the council on this.
Responses will feed into a new waste strategy being developed, aimed at ensuring the area maximises the environmental, local and financial benefits from the waste it produces as a community.
Aberdeenshire’s current recycling rate is only 43.5%, but services currently available to residents should allow a recycling rate of 70%.
Over half of the materials put into local non-recyclable waste bins are actually recyclable through existing services – equating to around 30,000 tonnes of recyclable materials being binned at a cost of £3.5million a year.
Sending biodegradable waste to landfill will also be banned from 2021. This includes non-recyclable household waste currently landfilled, so an alternative has to be found. Aberdeenshire Council is working together with Aberdeen City and Moray Councils to create a joint Energy from Waste plant to handle all of this waste.
The proposed changes have been informed by the views of residents who took part in The Big Recycling Challenge Survey – in which one of the most striking results showed that landfill bins are not used to capacity.
As part of the proposals to improve the kerbside service, residents would get an extra recycling bin and a smaller bin for non-recyclable waste to maximise recycling at home and to align the service with the type of waste households actually produce. One of the options also involves collecting non-recyclable waste every three weeks.
Residents would be asked to start separating paper and card from metals, cartons and plastics to allow a small income to be made from the sale of paper and card, to buffer against the varying prices of other recyclables.
As part of the strategy, a small number of recycling centres would close too as they would not have the space to accept the same range of materials for recycling as the larger sites, with any savings reinvested in providing better service at the other centres.
Sending waste to landfill costs twice as much as recycling, so not only does maximising the value of a material benefit the environment, it also frees up money for other council services.
Take part and give your views on the package of proposals at https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/waste-strategy-consultation
You can read the consultation document below.