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Aberdeenshire completes a move to three weekly bin collections

By David Porter

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Aberdeenshire Council will soon complete its rollout of kerbside bin collection changes that introduced new orange lid bins to improve the quantity and quality of what is recycled across the region.

The new orange-lidded bins have been rolled out across Aberdeenshire.
The new orange-lidded bins have been rolled out across Aberdeenshire.

All six of the council’s depots that service bins for more than 120,000 households will be collecting split-stream recycling from the kerbside within the next two months as the remaining Mintlaw and Ellon depots make the switch from the old single-stream style.

On the new system, one of three bins are collected each week on a three weekly cycle-

The blue-lid recycling bin becomes for paper, card, and cardboard only.

A new orange-lid recycling bin is for metal tins, cans, aerosols and foil, food and drink cartons, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.

The black refuse bin remains for non-recyclable waste only.

There are no changes to food and battery collections, which are still collected every week.

As a result of these changes, paper, card, and cardboard recycling is much cleaner across Aberdeenshire, with the most recent batch sampling showing a contamination rate of less than 1 per cent.

By improving the quality of the recycling in this way, while also avoiding additional costly and unnecessary sorting processes, the change helps to subsidise the costs of waste disposal that have been increasing steadily over recent years, saving the council up to £765,000 every year. That saving can be used across the waste service to help cover any budget gaps.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor Alan Turner said: “Another excellent result in terms of the cleanliness of paper, card, and cardboard recycling among the depots on the new collection cycle.

“Very soon, much cleaner recycling will be collected across all of Aberdeenshire. The rollout has been a massive undertaking, but a lot of work remains to help everyone along this journey of reducing what we waste and saving more of what can be recycled.”

Vice-chair Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “It’s wonderful to see more encouraging results this close to the end of such a major rollout. It’s thanks to the patience, understanding, and adaptability of both Aberdeenshire residents and council staff that results like this can be achieved. I hope to see recycling rates continue to improve as we move beyond the final stages of the rollout.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Mintlaw depot—servicing Fraserburgh, Peterhead, Strichen, and surrounding areas—will begin collections on the new three-weekly cycle from 25 March.

This is followed closely by the Ellon depot on April 22, which covers Oldmeldrum, Newmachar, Udny, areas north of Inverurie, and areas nearer Aberdeen.

Residents should refer to their service letter and booklet, sent directly to their home for everything they need to know about the changes, including when to stop putting mixed recycling into their blue lid bin and when to start using their new orange-lid bin.

Aberdeenshire Council welcomed £3.4 million in funding from Zero Waste Scotland’s Recycling Improvement Fund to progress the changes in alignment with Scotland’s Charter for Household Recycling. The charter pledges to maximise the capture and quality of recycling as well as reduce the capacity for waste that cannot be recycled.

The next step is to reduce the amount of recycling that ends up in refuse bins (black lid). More than 66 per cent of what households collectively throw away in Aberdeenshire can be recycled, and around half of that can be recycled using bin collections from the kerbside.

As an example, food waste is the largest contributor to refuse bins in Aberdeenshire, at 22.7 per cent according to a compositional waste analysis completed in the summer of 2022. Moving that waste from refuse bins into the freely provided food waste caddies would be much better for the environment and greatly reduce the costs of disposing of that waste.

When the free food waste caddies are used in Aberdeenshire, food waste is liquidised and sent for anaerobic digestion, producing biogases and digestate. The biogases can then be converted into power, heat, or even biofuel for vehicles, while the remaining digestate is used as fertiliser for agriculture. Some food waste is also converted into compost for local farms.

Residents can collect an indoor and outdoor food waste caddy for free from their local recycling centre or service point if theirs is broken or if they need more than one.

More community events have been organised to give residents an opportunity to ask questions in person before they take place in their area:

April 23: Ellon Library — 3pm to 6pm.

April 24: Balmedie Library — 4.30pm to 6pm.

April 25: Newmachar Library — 4pm – 6pm.

April 30: Oldmeldrum Library — 3pm to 6pm.

Local community groups can also contact the waste@aberdeenshire.gov.uk inbox to request ma community waste officer to attend their events and present about the changes.

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