Household recycling centres

HWRC Frequently asked questions

Government legislation has now been updated so that a trip to the Household Waste Recycling Centre is now regarded as an acceptable journey for essential waste disposal.

1. What is considered essential waste disposal?

HWRC are open for essential waste disposal only - journeys to an HWRC must only be undertaken if your waste cannot be stored at home safely. By this we mean the waste cannot be stored without causing risk of injury, or harm to health. If you can temporarily store your waste in a way that does not pose a risk to your or others safety or human health, then you must continue to do so.

2. When will HWRC reopen?

Many HWRC opened on Monday 1 June. Please check the guidance on our website for details of the sites which are open and the restrictions in place.

3. Why is my local HWRC not open?

We are working hard to get all the sites open as quickly as we can and will be regularly assessing the situation. Each site is different and presents its own particular set of challenges but when we are confident that sufficient resources and safety controls are in place these sites will be re-opened. We will update our website regularly and will issue updates in the local press. Please regularly check our website for updates.

4. What vehicles are permitted at HWRC?

Cars and small non-commercial 4 x 4 vehicles only are permitted in this initial phase. Trailers and vans are not permitted. We will continually review the situation and provide regular updates. Please regularly check our website for updates.

5. Why are cars the only vehicles allowed at the HWRC?

This is a phased re-opening with restrictions in place in each phase to help manage the sites safely and efficiently. Cars and small non-commercial 4 x 4 vehicles only are permitted in this phase to cut down on the time spent on site by visitors, so that as many as people as possible can pass through quickly and safely enabling traffic to flow more freely. It will also reduce queuing times. We will continually review the situation and provide regular updates. Please regularly check our website for updates.

6. Can I bring waste from my business or other commercial activity?

The HWRC do not accept waste from businesses or any other commercial activity, as the sites are for household waste only. We offer a business waste collection service across the region, for further information please email commercial.waste@highland.gov.uk.

7. Are the HWRC opening times the same as before?

No. All sites that are open have revised opening hours and days. Please check the individual details for your local HWRC on our website.

Sites may need to close at short notice. For example, if it is no longer safe to keep them open, if containers are completely full, social distancing measures are not being properly observed, or they are having an unacceptable impact on surrounding roads through queuing traffic.

8. What types of waste can I take to the HWRC?

Currently the only waste accepted is:

  • Bagged household waste only - to cut down on time spent at the site, please do not bring other larger items of household waste as they will not be permitted.
  • Garden waste in bags only - to cut down on time spent at the site, please bring garden waste in bags and empty the contents into the containers.
  • Cardboard - To cut down on time spent on site, please flatten all cardboard before arriving.
  • Small electrical items
  • Large electrical items

Only one person is permitted out of the vehicle, unless it is absolutely necessary for a second person to assist with lifting and handling heavier items such as white goods. Site staff are unable to assist with handling waste. Please only bring waste you can carry and empty into the containers.

Over the coming weeks, once we are satisfied that the amount of waste and visitor numbers using the sites are at safe and manageable levels, we will move to the next phase. Please regularly check our website for updates.

Please do not bring other items as you will be asked to take them home. This is a phased re-opening and we will gradually introduce more materials over the coming weeks. Please regularly check our website for updates.

Important information about personal waste

If anyone in your household has Coronavirus symptoms, please dispose of your personal waste following Government guidance, this includes:

  • nappies and sanitary products
  • tissues and used paper towels
  • wet wipes

Please put personal waste and disposable cleaning cloths into disposable rubbish bags and close securely. These bags should then be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. These bags then need to be stored for at least 72 hours before being taken to a HWRC

9. When is the best time to visit?

Please only travel to a HWRC if it is absolutely essential (i.e. you cannot continue to store your waste at home safely).

Since the sites have re-opened, traffic has been free-flowing with waiting times kept to a minimum. Small queues tend to build up whilst waiting for the sites to open each morning but clear quickly once the gates are opened. We will monitor the situation and update this question when necessary and put information out through social media.

As we introduce more materials in the first few weeks after re-opening we expect HWRCs to be very busy and are anticipating larger numbers of visitors than usual and possibly queues of traffic.

Due to social distancing restrictions, we won’t be able to accommodate the same amount of people in the same time frame as we normally would.

Please don’t arrive at the site early, to reduce impact on local roads and surrounding homes and businesses, especially as some nearby residents may be trying to get to work. Before sites open each day, we will be moving full skips and cannot do this if there is traffic congestion.

10. Why can’t you open for longer if it’s going to be busy?

We cannot keep them open for longer as we have reduced numbers of staff available to operate the sites. Also, staff need time outside of these hours to make sure containers are emptied and ready for use, and that sites are tidy and safe to access.

We must also consider the opening times of the places where materials from site are taken once containers have filled. If we keep sites open beyond regular hours, we will have nowhere for the collected waste to go, creating delays and disrupting access.

11. What should I expect when I visit?

Staff will be in place at the entrance to each site to speak with visitors and advise on waiting times and procedures on site. If a queue is too large, some vehicles may be turned away and asked to return later.

In order to observe social distancing measures, we will need to restrict the number of visitors/vehicles that are permitted into a site at any one time. Only one person will be permitted to leave their vehicle to dispose of their waste. Site staff are unable to assist with handling waste. Please only bring waste you can carry and empty into the containers. Please respect direction from staff, they will be working very hard in difficult circumstances to keep the site safe and ensure as many visitors as possible can dispose of their waste. Please treat our Recycling centre staff with respect, aggression towards staff will not be tolerated.

Please don’t bring children with you if possible. If you have no alternative, please ensure they always stay in the car

12. Can site staff help me unload my waste?

No. Social distancing measures will be in place and staff will remain 2 metres from visitors. Staff will be able to direct you but cannot handle your waste in any way. Please only bring waste that you can carry and empty into the containers. Only one person is permitted out of the vehicle, unless it is absolutely necessary for a second person to assist with lifting and handling heavier items such as white goods.

13. How are you making sites safe to attend?

All HWRC are being managed to make sure visitors move around the site as little as possible and leave as quickly and safely as possible.

Social distancing measures will be in place to help visitors and staff stay 2metres apart from other people.

The layout of the sites parking spaces will be altered to facilitate social distancing.

Additional regular cleaning of surfaces will also be undertaken for hygiene and health reasons. Site staff will be equipped with the necessary PPE and will follow robust hygiene practices.

14. I am vulnerable/shielded person, can I visit an HWRC?

Please do not come to the HWRC if you are:

  • extremely vulnerable and are remaining at home for shielding purposes
    • symptomatic with coronavirus (COVID-19) (you should be following the 7-day self- isolation guidance
  • in a 14-day household isolation

We would urge vulnerable people to continue to follow government guidance on self-isolation. While we will have social distancing restrictions in place on site, you may wish to ask a non-vulnerable family member or friend to take your essential waste to an HWRC

15. Do I need to wear PPE to attend?

PPE (gloves, face masks etc..) is a personal choice – there are no regulations requiring visitors to use it on site. However, we strongly advise washing your hands before and after you visit the HWRC. Please also observe social distancing and stay 2 metres apart from staff and other site users when at a HWRC.

16. Can I walk my waste into the site if there’s a big queue or I live close-by?

No. The sites are very busy, and designed for vehicle-access, not pedestrian access and do not have dedicated pedestrian access, so are not safe to enter by foot.

Queue jumping by parking nearby and walking with waste will not be tolerated, as it is potentially dangerous and unfair to those that have waited.

17. Can I leave my waste at the entrance of the site?

Any waste left outside an HWRC, in the queue, at the roadside etc. will be treated as fly-tipping and subjected to the same investigation and potential fines and prosecution as any other fly-tipping.

18. Do I have to book to visit?

Portree is the only site where you need to book a visit.

Please book online

All other open HWRC are not operating a booking system at the moment.

Restrictions on the types of vehicles permitted, types of materials accepted, and revised opening hours will apply.

The Council may introduce a booking system at some or all of its sites if the restrictions on access do not prove sufficient to prevent issues such as excessive visitor numbers and traffic queuing.

Householders are reminded not to travel to HWRC except for essential waste disposal (i.e. where keeping the waste at home will result in risk of injury or harm to health).

19. I have been doing some DIY at home. Can I bring the waste?

No, please store this waste at home. The HWRC are open to accept specific material: bagged household waste, garden waste, cardboard, small and large electrical appliances only (see FAQ 8 above). Please think about others at this difficult time and only go to the HWRC if your waste cannot be stored without causing risk of injury, or harm to health. If you can temporarily store your waste in a way that does not pose a risk to your or others safety or human health, then you must continue to do so.

20. I have clothes and shoes that I want to donate. Are the charity clothing banks on site open?

No, the charities that empty the textile banks across the Highland region are not able to do this at the moment due to staff shortages. Please store these items at home because charities will want your donation when they open again.

21. I am a trader and I normally use the Waste Transfer Stations and pay for my waste disposal, are these open?

Some of the Waste Transfer Stations are open for business waste to be disposed of. Due to social distancing measures in place at these sites, please call our Service Centre on 01349 886603 to arrange a day and time to deliver your waste. When you arrive at the site please stay in your vehicle until the site attendant instructs you what to do.

Please regularly check our website for updates

PLEASE WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER VISITING THE HOUSEHOLD WASTE RECYCLING CENTRES

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