Businesses illegally dumping their trade waste in Aberdeenshire’s household recycling centres are costing the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
Although some recycling sites across the region do accept commercial waste and recycling, many do not – and are being used frequently by companies to get rid of their waste as if it was domestic, without paying the costs for processing.
It has been estimated around 20% of the rubbish put into Aberdeenshire’s household recycling centres is in fact business waste, costing Aberdeenshire Council around £500,000 a year to dispose of.
Area committees across Aberdeenshire are now being asked to consider new steps to tackle the problem, before a final decision is made by the infrastructure services committee.
Garioch area committee will be one of the first to consider possible preventative measures next week.
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Under the proposed new strategy, businesses would be directed to use three council waste transfer stations across Aberdeenshire, where materials can be accurately weighted and charged for appropriately.
Stephen Archer, infrastructure services director at Aberdeenshire Council, said in a report to councillors the plans could also reduce congestion at the household centres.
He said it is estimated that around 10,000 tonnes of business waste goes through the recycling centres per year.
Mr Archer stated: “Measures to stop businesses using recycling centres free of charge will result in reduced operational costs, and businesses will pay for the reprocessing and disposing of their waste.
“Income will be generated from businesses paying to deposit their recyclable materials, and non-recyclable waste to waste transfer stations.”
If the scheme goes ahead as planned, households using vans, pick-ups, trailers or mini-buses to dispose of their recycling will need to use a permit system to access household recycling centres.
But other types of vehicles that businesses typically use at recycling centres would be banned, including vehicles weighting more than 3.5 tonnes, tractors, and vehicles with more than four wheels.
Business waste would be accepted at the transfer stations in Ellon, Banchory and Macduff, three days a week from 8am to 10am.
The new strategy could be put in place by early 2020, if the project receives approval from the infrastructure and services committee.