New procedures are being rolled out across Aberdeenshire Council’s kerbside collection service from this week in an attempt to reduce the contamination of recycling bins with non-recyclable items.
The aim is to reduce the amount of recyclates which can’t be processed because they’ve been mixed with non-recyclable materials, helping to avoid sending items to landfill and reducing disposal costs.
The council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) approved the kerbside collection policy and procedures last year, including guidance on how to deal with contaminated bins.
Any non-recyclable material placed into the recycling bin is classed as ‘contamination’, which could spoil the recyclates in any load. The recycling reprocessor may then reject whole loads as a result.
Any rejected loads of recycling are disposed of at an additional cost to the taxpayer, for which there is no council budget available. Income which they would have generated to invest in services is lost.
Collection crews will now visually check each recycling bin for contaminated recycling before emptying as a matter of course – those with severe contamination will not be emptied.
Households consistently presenting severely contaminated bins will be offered advice and support to properly separate their waste. Those who ignore that advice could run the risk of their recycling bin being removed.
Moderately contaminated bins will be emptied and an orange tag will be attached, providing information to the householder on how to properly use the recycling service.
If a bin has not been emptied and tagged explaining why it has not been emptied, it is contaminated and the offending materials must be removed before the next collection. Crews will not return to empty a rejected bin until the next scheduled collection day for the same bin.
Bins considered to have little or no levels of contaminants will be emptied as normal.
Collection crews will keep a record of bins unemptied due to overloading or contamination and this will be checked before a decision is made to return to empty any bin reported as a missed collection.
For those with a lot of recyclable materials, additional, free recycling bins can be requested by contacting the council’s Wasteline.
Additional non-recyclable waste bins may also be authorised where there is a genuine need following a home visit and assessment by a Community Waste Officer.
The council’s Head of Roads, Waste and Landscape services, Philip McKay, said: “It’s important residents understand how to recycle properly and make best use of the facilities available to them.
“Sending waste to landfill costs more than double the amount it costs to recycle and tackling the levels of contamination in kerbside bins is intended to reduce the amount of recyclates sent to landfill.
“We will be enforcing the procedures in a staggered rollout, tackling problem routes first. This will allow crews to get used to the new procedures without any severe implications for the collection schedule.”
Over half the materials in local non-recyclable waste bins are recyclable through existing services – equating to around 30,000 tonnes of recyclable materials being landfilled at a cost of £3.5million a year.
Not only does maximising the value of a material benefit the environment, it also frees up money for other essential council services.
Residents are encouraged to get in touch with the Recycling and Waste Aberdeenshire Facebook page if they are unsure of how to dispose of any material not listed in the A-Z guide.
For any recycling and waste related queries, or to request an additional recycling or non-recycling bin, please contact Wasteline.