Following a review and public survey of the current protocols in place at the council’s recycling centres, it was decided the benefits of the booking system outweighed the disadvantages.
But a number of changes will be introduced to make it easier for people to book and access time slots at the centres.
It was also agreed that recycling centres would be examined on an individual basis, and discussions would continue around any customisations that could be made at each site.
Improvements to be made to the booking system will include clearer instructions on the website, autofill details on the booking form to avoid duplication, timeslots available first prior to completion, shorter notice availability of timeslots and incorporating the system into the myAberdeenshire app.
There will also be an increase in the number of vehicles per timeslot at busier sites, and an increase in the number of trailers per slot where possible.
And there’s a commitment to increase public engagement and communication across all platforms to improve customer understanding of the systems.
The decision to retain the booking system was made by councillors at last week’s Infrastructure Services Committee.
Councillor Peter Argyle, committee chair, said: “There have been many discussions around the recommendations presented and we are happy to support the option of continuing with current systems, with an agreement to look at each household recycling centre on an individual basis.
“Results from the public survey reveal that the booking system has significant benefits for many people.
“As such, we are committed to making improvements to ensure this system is accessible and user friendly for all customers.”
The public survey attracted over 4000 responses. The council said the results indicated 43.1 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the service, 18.4 per cent were of a neutral opinion, and 38.5 per cent were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
The booking system was originally introduced as a way of providing physical distancing at the start of the pandemic but has been shown to provide numerous additional benefits such as improved traffic management, especially at the larger, busier sites. Booking has evened out usage across the day and during the week so there are controlled numbers of vehicles onsite.
The protocols in place have also restricted use of the sites by traders. It had been estimated to cost the council up to £500,000 per year to dispose of trade waste deposited unlawfully at household recycling centres.
Councillor John Cox, committee vice-chair, said: “We have agreed to go forward with the current systems, and I am pleased there will be continuing discussions around the potential for flexibility at certain sites and that HRCs will be examined on an individual basis with any necessary improvements being made.
“I welcome further communication and consideration regarding trade and commercial waste options.”