A decision on a range of proposed changes to recycling and waste services in Aberdeenshire is expected to be made next Thursday (January 24).
Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) will discuss a new waste strategy after views were sought in a consultation in September on proposals to push up the area’s recycling rate and send less materials to landfill.
Discussions on the future of the service were scheduled to take place in November but were delayed to allow extra time to take residents’ views into account - proposed service changes have been amended as a result.
Proposals to close the Insch Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC) have been removed as a result of public feedback. It is proposed that the centre would stay open two days a week, with the cost to be covered by slightly shortening opening hours at other recycling centres.
Changes to kerbside services have also been proposed and, out of the two options consulted on, councillors are recommended to choose the option which will give residents a 180 litre non-recyclable waste bin to be emptied every three weeks. Paper/card and metals, cartons and plastics recycling bins would also be incorporated into the 3-weekly collection cycle, together with a weekly food waste collection.
Although a different option was more popular in the consultation, professional advice is that the alternative is most likely to encourage residents to recycle more and send less waste to landfill.
By increasing recycling the proposed change is expected to reduce service costs by at least £500,000 per year, money which will be reinvested into other essential council services.
It is also proposed to double the number of seasonal garden waste collection points, with new facilities in locations including Balmedie, Kemnay, Kintore, Mintlaw, Newmachar and Oldmeldrum.
Aberdeenshire’s current recycling rate is only 43.7%, but the services currently available to residents should allow over 70% of waste to be recycled.
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 landfilled 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.
Landfilling waste 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.
If approved, changes to the network of recycling centres and new seasonal garden waste points would start in 2019, whilst changes to kerbside services are planned for 2020/21.