New kerbside waste and recycling services to be revisited after funding disappointment

Recycling bins
Recycling bins

Councillors will be asked to revisit the kerbside collection options they recently decided on as part of the introduction of a new Waste Strategy for Aberdeenshire.

The majority of the £4.2million needed to implement the new kerbside collection system was expected to be funded by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), but it has confirmed this is not possible at this time.

While the council’s funding bid was considered to meet the necessary criteria and was positively received by ZWS, the situation has clearly changed.

It is understood the decision relates to the review of the Code of Practice associated with Scotland’s Household Waste Recycling Charter, which is to be undertaken once the full implications of the proposed Deposit Return Scheme are known.

The £3.2million funding being sought by Aberdeenshire Council for changes to kerbside collections was intended to increase reuse and recycling through compliance with the Charter, paying for the bins needed to do so.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) will now be presented with alternative solutions to the situation.

Officers are currently considering a range of options to be presented to councillors for further consideration and agreement on how to proceed.

Other changes to be introduced under the new Waste Strategy will still go ahead – including improvements to Household Waste Recycling Centres from this month and an increased number of garden waste collection points across the area this summer.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Roads, Landscape and Waste Services, Philip McKay, said: “This clearly causes some issues for the delivery of the area’s new Waste Strategy.

"The redesigned kerbside service was intended to help us meet our obligations in terms of the local recycling rate and the forthcoming landfill ban.

“We have been and continue to work closely with Zero Waste Scotland, but it’s clearly disappointing that we’ve been unable to secure this funding at this time, which was ultimately intended to help us really push up our community’s recycling rate and divert waste from landfill.

“However, that still remains our goal and we are currently evaluating a number of options which will be presented to Committee in due course.”

Zero Waste Scotland's Head of Resource Management, Charlie Devine, said: “We are very supportive of Aberdeenshire Council’s ambition and vision to meet their recycling targets. The landscape is evolving to meet Scotland’s wider environmental targets and circular economy ambitions, reflected in part by the forthcoming introduction of the deposit return scheme for single use beverage containers.

"As a result, we are reviewing how kerbside recycling collections can adapt to support these changes and how best we can support all councils across Scotland. We will continue to work with and support Aberdeenshire Council to explore the best options to meet their needs.”

ISC is expected to consider a report on alternative options at its meeting on Thursday, May 16 – reports will be available on the council’s website the week before.

Aberdeenshire’s recycling rate is 43.7%, but services currently available should allow a rate over 70%. Over half the materials in local non-recyclable waste bins is recyclable through existing services – equating to around 30,000 tonnes of recyclable materials being binned at a cost of £3.5million a year.

Sending waste to landfill costs much more than recycling, so not only does maximising the value of a material benefit the environment, it also frees up money for other council services.