Councillors to discuss Aberdeenshire garden waste collection options during workshop

Councillors have agreed to discuss the feasibility of a garden waste kerbside collection service for Aberdeenshire.

Councillors agreed to fully explore the options for garden waste collection at a workshop later in the year.
Councillors agreed to fully explore the options for garden waste collection at a workshop later in the year.

Following a request from Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee earlier this year, the authority’s Waste Service had drawn up a business case focusing on four potential options.

It sets out how an opt-in garden waste kerbside collection service could be provided to all households, highlighting the costs, benefits and risks associated with such a collection and identifying alternative options with lower costs and risks.

Currently, garden waste is collected in Aberdeenshire through a network of 15 Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) which are operational all year round, alongside a further 12 seasonal garden waste collection points which operate on Saturdays from April to October.

These locations allow the council to collect on average 9-10,000 tonnes of garden waste each year, more than 50% of the overall total of garden waste being produced from households.

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Tonnages are increasing again and starting to reflect pre-pandemic levels.

The council also offers home composters at heavily discounted prices to encourage residents to compost their garden waste.

Recent waste compositional analysis of non-recyclable waste bins identified that, on average, 16% of the waste in the residual waste bin during the growing season is garden waste which could equate to around 8,000 tonnes of garden waste ending up in landfill or energy from waste facilities.

Councillors were reminded at last Thursday’s ISC meeting that there is currently no legislative requirement to provide a kerbside garden waste collection service and that the current budget allocated to Waste Services for revenue and capital would not have any capacity to support a kerbside collection of garden waste.

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Therefore any proposal to provide such a service would require to be chargeable to recover the annual revenue costs and that there was a significant financial risk to the council in terms of the number of households participating in such a scheme.

Following a number of points being raised by committee members, including the potential cost, the option of a 4-week collection and an extension of the seasonal garden waste points to additional, smaller communities, councillors agreed to fully explore the options at a workshop later in the year.

Infrastructure Services Committee chair Cllr John Crawley said: “We are fortunate in Aberdeenshire to have several options available to us to easily dispose of garden waste – whether that be home composting or via a Household Recycling Centre or a seasonal garden waste point. However, the evidence is clear that far too much green material is still heading into our residual waste and we simply cannot allow that to continue.”

Vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “I am delighted that officers will be getting councillors round the table to discuss the proposed options for a garden waste collection and to go over a number of valid points raised during committee. By carefully considering the best options for garden waste collection we can help ensure we are diverting this rich resource from landfill and further improving our recycling capacity.”