Improvements to the network of Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in Aberdeenshire will take effect from Monday, April 29.
The changes come as part of a new Waste Strategy which aims to push up the area’s recycling rate and slash the amount of materials sent to landfill ahead of a ban on the practice.
Excluding Alford and Portlethen, all sites will now close at 4.30pm (4pm on Fridays), and sites with seasonal extended opening hours on a Tuesday evening will now close at 7pm.
Portsoy and Insch HWRCs, which were due to close, will remain open on limited hours to accommodate local demand.
Sites with low recycling rates – Gardenstown, Hatton and Whitehills – will close and local residents are encouraged to use other nearby facilities.
Work continues to increase the number of materials accepted at recycling centres and to increase the number of reuse facilities available.
Garden waste can be disposed of at HWRCs but bagged green waste and smaller prunings can be taken to seasonal garden waste collection points, which run weekly until Saturday, November 2.
Although Aberdeenshire does not have a kerbside collection service for glass, there are over 200 glass recycling points across Aberdeenshire, many are in supermarket car parks.
Residents are encouraged to use these while making shopping or other trips, rather than travelling specifically to dispose of glass or garden waste.
Residents are also reminded that leaving waste at collection points or HWRCs when they are closed or unavailable is considered to be fly-tipping and could result in prosecution.
Asbestos and tyres will no longer be accepted at HWRCs from Monday, June 3 and residents are advised to make use of commercially available facilities.
Additional staffing at each HWRC is expected to come into effect from summer. More staff will be available to assist residents and advise on the best suitable container for their waste.
This increase in customer service was trialled in 2016, with a 5% increase in recycling, and will be rolled out to recycling centres to help increase recycling rates and decrease waste disposal costs.
Ros Baxter, Waste Manager, said: “These improvements to HWRCs are intended to provide an equitable level of service for all communities within existing budgets.
“We hope the recycling rate will increase at each site, which will in turn reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by the area as a whole, potentially saving money which can then be reinvested.”
Matt Davis, Disposal Team Manager, added: “The majority of the area’s HWRCs are well used and all local communities are within relatively easy reach of one, so we hope we will see people making good use of them into the future.
“As well as providing additional local employment, the increase in customer service should be noticeable, with a knock-on effect for recycling rates while reducing materials sent to landfill.
Aberdeenshire’s recycling rate is 43.7%, but services currently available should allow a rate over 70%.
"Sending waste to landfill costs much more than recycling, so not only does maximising the value of a material benefit the environment, it also frees up money for other council services."