Aberdeenshire's new kerbside bin collection rollout passes the halfway point

More than 60,000 orange-lid bins have been delivered to households and trade customers.More than 60,000 orange-lid bins have been delivered to households and trade customers.
More than 60,000 orange-lid bins have been delivered to households and trade customers.
Aberdeenshire Council has passed the halfway point in its enhanced recycling rollout that asks households to separate paper, card, and cardboard at the source to improve the quality of what is recycled.

Areas of Aberdeenshire serviced by the Banchory, Stonehaven, and Inverurie depots have all gone live with the new service, resulting in vastly reduced contamination rates for the paper, card, and cardboard recycling separated into blue-lid bins at just 3%.

The resulting clean fibre now avoids costly additional sorting processes and, in turn, helps to subsidise waste disposal costs that have been increasing steadily over recent years.

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The change aligns the council with Scotland’s Charter for Household Recycling that pledges to reduce the capacity for waste that cannot be recycled as well as maximise the capture and quality of recycling.

As part of the Aberdeenshire-wide rollout, more than 60,000 orange-lid bins have been delivered to households and trade customers in areas of Kincardine & Mearns, Marr, and Garioch, with three depots remaining to roll out.

The new orange-lid bins are for metal tins, cans, aerosols and foil, food and drink cartons, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays. The average contamination rate in orange lid bins has been just 16.94% since the service has gone live. This is a strong performance considering that, nationally, contamination rates can be between 16 and 36% according to the council’s contracted recycling service for mixed containers.

Additional food bins are also being procured beyond the previous year’s order by the council. This could be an early indication that the change in kerbside collections—with the reduction of refuse capacity—is encouraging more households to take part in the food waste collection service.

Food waste is the largest contributor to refuse bins (black lid) in Aberdeenshire at 22.7% according to compositional waste analysis completed in the summer of 2022.

An increase in food recycling is of great benefit to the environment as food waste accounts for 18% of all household waste by weight in Scotland, but 30% of all households’ carbon impact from waste. Increased use of the food caddies instead will have that food waste converted into compost for use in local agricultural farms.

Food waste caddies can be collected for free from your local household recycling centres.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Councillor Alan Turner said: “The rollout is a massive undertaking and one of the largest changes to kerbside collections in recent history. It is great to see that, this far, it is successful in terms of improving the quality of recycling and potentially increasing participation in food recycling.

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“However, we must be mindful to help everyone along this journey. As the more we can recycle, and the higher we can push that quality to be, will result in there being less need to extract raw materials and thus reduce our carbon impact.”

Vice-chair Councillor Isobel Davidson said: “Both residents and staff across the council—from front-line crews to customer service—have been adapting and learning lessons as each area rolls out. It has not been without its hiccups but, as each area beds into this new service over some weeks, the results are encouraging—particularly this far into a major rollout.”

New orange lid bins will begin to be delivered to households serviced by the Macduff depot from 23 October for the next stage of the rollout. Residents should keep an eye out for a letter informing them of the coming change that includes a new service booklet with everything they need to know as well as a schedule for when to start using the new orange-lid bin.

Community events have been organised to give residents the opportunity to ask questions about the changes to kerbside collections in person for the next stage off the rollout:

31 October: Macduff Library, High Street, Macduff — 11 am to 3 pm

9 November: Huntly Library, The Square, Huntly — 2pm to 6pm

16 November: Whitehills Library, Loch Street, Banff — 2 pm to 4 pm

22 November: Rosehearty Library, Pitsligo Street, Fraserburgh — 10 am to noon

23 November: Rosehearty Library, Pitsligo Street, Fraserburgh — 2 pm to 6 pm

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30 November: Aberchirder Library, Smith Street, Aberchirder — 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Local community groups can also contact the [email protected] inbox to request a community waste officer to attend their events and present about the changes.

The council’s A-to-Z waste guide has been updated to include the new orange-lid bins and shows which typical household items can go into each household bin. It can be found via the myAberdeenshire app or the council’s website: online.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/AtoZ

To progress the new three-weekly waste strategy in alignment with Scotland’s Charter for Household Recycling, Aberdeenshire Council welcomed £3.5 million in funding from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund.

Trade customers will be contacted separately about the change but will ultimately be charged for each bin they have. Businesses should consider how they will internally separate their recycling and reduce their waste before the rollout progresses into their area.

More information about the bin collections change can also be found online at www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/bincollectionschange where frequently asked questions will be continuously updated as the new service rolls out.