Paper, card, and cardboard recycling of excellent quality thanks to residents

Paper, card, and cardboard recycling has improved across Aberdeenshire.Paper, card, and cardboard recycling has improved across Aberdeenshire.
Paper, card, and cardboard recycling has improved across Aberdeenshire.
Thanks to diligent households separating their paper, card, and cardboard at the kerbside in Aberdeenshire, recycling quality has improved, contamination is low, and the resulting clean fibre has avoided an additional costly sorting process.

Aberdeenshire Council’s paper, card, and cardboard recycling from households in Kincardine & Mearns has been of excellent quality since kerbside collection changes rolled into the area.

The average contamination rate was just 3.4% for the first few collections according to Smurfit Kappa, the recycling operation in Glasgow that services Aberdeenshire Council’s fibre recycling contract.

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Kincardine & Mearns was the first area in the full rollout of kerbside collection changes that makes blue-lid bins for paper, card, and cardboard only—removing the additional cost of an intermediary, mixed-recycling, sorting facility while also improving the quality of the recycling.

All recovered paper, card, and cardboard from Aberdeenshire homes that reaches Smurfit Kappa’s site in Glasgow is baled for onward shipment to their UK Paper Mills for recycling.

The 3.4% contamination rate in the fibre stream was mostly non-recyclable waste and some plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays being put in the wrong household bin.

No plastic bags or soft films are accepted in Aberdeenshire Council’s recycling bins.

Wet cardboard also featured as a contaminant. To recycle wet cardboard, it needs to be dried out first before putting it in the blue-lid bin or it can be composted. If unable to do either, it is advisable to instead put it in the waste bin.

As the new kerbside collection service rolls out across Aberdeenshire, one of three bins is collected each week on a three-weekly cycle:

  • The blue-lid recycling bin for paper, card, and cardboard only;
  • A new orange-lid recycling bin for metal tins, cans, aerosols and foil, food and drink cartons, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays; and
  • The black refuse bin, which remains for non-recyclable waste only.

There are no changes to food and battery collections, which are still collected each week.

From this week, orange-lid bins will begin to be delivered to household and trade customers serviced by the council’s Inverurie depot, which covers Garioch and some of Formartine and Marr, for the next phase of the rollout.

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Households should be on the lookout for a teaser postcard that will indicate that the change will soon apply to their home. A letter will follow that includes a new service booklet with everything residents need to know about the changes, including when to expect delivery and when to start using their new orange-lid bin.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee Chair, Councillor Alan Turner, said: “The results are excellent and created through the efforts and patience of householders and businesses who have managed to join us on this recycling journey so far. We hope to see similar levels of quality recycling as we expand the new service into other areas across Aberdeenshire.”

Vice-chair Councillor Isobel Davidson added: “The materials collected at the kerbside remain the same. The thing to remember when the rollout reaches your area is that paper, card, and cardboard will be collected separately. The service will be using educational materials such as bin tags to help residents where they may have erred, and community waste officers will be active in areas where a bit of extra support is needed.”

Aberdeenshire Council welcomed £3.4 million in funding from Zero Waste Scotland’s Recycling Improvement Fund to progress the change in alignment with Scotland’s Charter for Household Recycling.

Residents should only refer to the calendar in their letter to understand when bins are due for collection. Bin collections on the myAberdeenshire app and postcode checker are in the process of being updated. They will become accurate once the new collections begin.

For any household that feels they may need an additional recycling bin, please allow for three cycles (nine weeks) of using the new service first to ensure you are maximising the available capacity before requesting another orange or blue-lid bin.

More information can be found at