Over the next few weeks residents of Caithness and Lochaber (with the exception of Ardnamurchan, Knoydart and the Small Isles), will receive notification of a change to their refuse and recycling collections, which takes effect from Monday 4 April.
Residents who currently have a recycling box collection will be given blue wheeled recycling bins, which will accept a wider range of materials – paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, food tins and drink cans. These will be collected fortnightly, alternating with a fortnightly collection of general waste from green or black bins. The garden waste collections will remain as present at fortnightly, although collection days may change.
Residents in areas where blue wheeled recycling bin collections were introduced early in 2009, will see their current 4-weekly collections of these bins increased to fortnightly, again alternating with a fortnightly collection of general waste.
During February and March new calendars and guides will be delivered to households, explaining the new service, and residents of blue box areas will be receiving their new blue wheeled bins in preparation for the start of the service on 4 April.
Recycling collections are also being rolled out to all of The Highland Council’s commercial customers in these areas – though the frequency of collections offered will vary according to locality. Full details of the new service will shortly be sent out and the Waste Management Team will be individually contacting all of the Council’s commercial customers to discuss their service requirements.
The move to the new collection system follows a successful 6-month trial in Skye and Lochalsh, which began last September. During the first 3 months of the trial the amount of material recycled increased by 17% compared to the same period in the previous year. There was also a 9% reduction in the total waste arising compared to the previous year.
The current average recycling rate in The Highland Council area of 35% is a significant improvement on the 2002 level of less than 5% but the Council is working towards increasing this to 40%. The Scottish Government has set a target of 70% of all waste to be recycled by 2025. Alternate weekly collections are now common in Scotland and have already been adopted by 21 out of 32 Councils.
Councillor John Laing said that the changes are an important next step in the effort to increase recycling rates. “Residents presently with blue boxes will welcome the opportunity to recycle a much wider range of materials from home. In areas which already have blue bins, keen recyclers have indicated that they could manage with less frequent general refuse collections but would like to see their recycling bin emptied more often. For households not currently recycling the change will hopefully provide the incentive for them to join in.”
Concerns about smells from rotting organic matter can be allayed by sensible bin management and ensuring that such material is double bagged separately from the ‘clean’, ‘non- smelly’ non-recyclable waste rather than throwing everything in the bin together.
Householders are also encouraged to try to minimise the amount of organic matter placed in the residual waste bin by reducing food waste and by composting items such as raw fruit and vegetables, flowers and garden waste.
Households in Scotland throw away an average of £430 worth of food every year. Advice on home composting and other ways of reducing waste and increasing recycling is available by visiting www.wasteawarescotland.org.uk
Collection arrangements for Knoydart, Ardnamurchan and the Small Isles will remain as existing.