Garden waste monitoring raises the standard

With the re-starting of The Highland Council garden waste collections at the beginning of March, tighter contamination monitoring has seen a substantial improvement in the quality of the collected material compared to last year.

Councillor Graham MacKenzie, Chair of the Community Services Committee praised residents for the overall quality of material presented.  He said: “Although the tighter rules may have upset some householders it is vitally important that we get this right from the start as failure to meet the required new standard has big financial implications for the Council. I’d like to thank everyone for their efforts and take this opportunity to remind people that the brown bins should only be used for garden generated organic waste such as leaves, grass, hedge trimmings, small twigs and branches, flowers, plants and weeds.”

Confusion has arisen over brown bins being rejected for contamination with kitchen waste. The Council composts garden waste in large, open-air piles called windrows. Because this process is carried out in the open air, Animal By-Products Regulations, developed to prevent the possibility of an outbreak of diseases such as Foot and Mouth, prohibit the inclusion of any kitchen waste. Where they have a food collection service, residents are requested to use this for all kitchen generated waste, including raw peelings. Elsewhere residents should preferably home compost, only using their refuse bin for peelings as a last resort. 

Garden Waste collections are also not intended for the disposal of soil, turf, stones and rubble. Skips are provided at Recycling Centres for the disposal of these materials. Inevitably there will be some soil attached to root balls, however, householders are asked to keep this to a minimum by removing as much as possible and in particular removing any stones. Turf is not acceptable as it contains too much soil and often stones. With potted plants householders are again asked to retain as much of the soil/compost in their own garden as possible before putting the plant material in the brown bin (in particular removing any stones that might have been added to the bottom of the pot to improve drainage and may have, overtime, become embedded in the root ball).

For further information and advice on what can and can't go in the brown bin, and on home composting, visit the Rubbish and recycling pages of The Highland Council website:, email or call 01349 886603.

30 Mar 2015
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