Highland Councillors are being asked to review the Council’s waste collection strategy to ensure a reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill and to increase the amount of waste recycled.
At the same time, the review is aimed at improving the effectiveness of the service and providing the best value for money.
The Transport Environmental and Community Services Committee, which meets on Thursday, will consider a report from Director, Neil Gillies, which asks members to review collections (quantities and frequencies); route lengths and timings; vehicle capacities; commercial waste collection; litter bin collection; collection systems and the use of modern technology.
The outcome of the review will be reported to a future TEC Services Committee.
Mr Gillies said in his report that the council’s waste management strategy, approved in March, last year, set out how the council would attempt to meet the challenging targets for landfill diversion and recycling set by the European Union and the Scottish Government.
The strategy highlighted the need for the provision of energy from waste and in-vessel composting facilities and the advantages of a a three-bin collection service, similar to the trial running in Culbokie, which has achieved recycling levels of up to 70%.
He said that over the past few years, the Council has increased recycling from zero to around 34%, mainly due to the investment from the Strategic Waste Fund.
He said: “To ensure that recycling levels continue to improve, we must now examine options, including policy changes, to encourage greater use of the existing facilities and services and to find ways of expanding services in areas where they do not currently exist.”
He said the majority of households now receive some form of kerbside recycling service. Given the significant improvement in the recycling rate over the past few years, this provided the opportunity to review the waste collection strategy to ensure the service is being provided in the most effective way.
A range of kerbside recycling services are provided, including a box for paper and cans, a bin for green garden waste and a bin for mixed dry recyclables.
The Council has a statutory duty to collect commercial waste if requested to do so and although private sector operators offer a service in the Inner Moray Firth, Lochaber and Badenoch and Strathspey, the Council has 4,000 commercial customers.
Commercial customers are also able to recycle waste at the Council's network of recyling points and centres at no extra cost.
Councillor John Laing, Chairman of TEC Services, said: “This is an important piece of work that is aimed at improving the effectiveness of the waste collection service, through increasing our recycling rate and reducing waste going to landfill. The review will identify how best we achieve this.”
Councillor Michael Foxley, Leader of the Council’s Administration, said: “This is the start of a major review also linked to increasing the level of recycling for commercial waste, improving the use of local recycling centres and changing public attitudes. We have been very encouraged by the support of most residents for recycling. We also need to action a policy of zero tolerance for litter and fly tipping.”