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Every Aberdeenshire household to get another bin under waste plans shake-up

CR0028011 Councillor Colin Pike has claimed that Aberdeenshire Council are trying to sneak plans through the back door which would mean residents' bins are collected every three weeks, rather than two. Councillor Pike is pictured with household bins in Lairhillock which shows how dysfunctional the bin collection already is, even before the mooted changes.
Aberdeenshire Councillor Colin Pike has argued against the proposed changes to bin collections.

Every Aberdeenshire household will receive an extra bin under recommendations for the council’s waste service to only collect non-recyclables every three weeks.

Right now, Aberdeenshire residents have two bins, one for non-recyclables, and one for recyclables — as well as a food waste caddy as standard.

Each bin is collected every second week, and the caddy is collected every week.

But councillors have been urged to proceed with £4 million plans to change this system.

If these proposals go forward, households will be given an additional third bin that’s 180 litres in size, on top of their existing pair of 240 litre bins.

Under the plans, what would be changing for me if I live in Aberdeenshire?

The proposals for how your waste will be collected in Aberdeenshire.

Your waste would be picked up on a three-week cycle, and you’ll be given a third, 180 litre bin.

In week one of the new system, the council would take away your non-recyclable waste from one of your existing 240 litre bins.

Then, in week two, the council would only take away paper and card, which you would have to put in your existing, blue-lidded 240 litre bin.

Finally in week three, the council would collect your new 180 litre bin, which is for food and drinks cans, cartons, plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays.

Food waste would be collected every week in the existing caddies.

What’s the point?

Currently, residents in Aberdeenshire have two big bins per household, as well as a food waste caddy.

The change is proposed to reduce the volume of waste produced by Aberdeenshire residents going to landfill.

In 2019, the council’s recycling rate was 44%.

It’s hoped that swapping to the new three-weekly cycle could increase this rate to 45%-49% by 2023.

The council also hopes it could lead to annual revenue savings of between £564,000 to £765,000, “depending on the level of recycling achieved”.

It is also intended to reduce the region’s carbon footprint.

According to Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, Aberdeenshire’s household recycling rate is below the national average and getting worse.

“These plans should be an effective way of driving more sustainable use of materials in Aberdeenshire, so that people will be putting less waste in their non-recyclable bins each week,” she said.

“For this change to be successful, the council needs to support households by clearly communicating how the new system works.”

What’s all this going to cost, and who is paying for it?

The total cost of the proposed project is estimated to be around £4m.

Buying 122,000 new 180 litre bins, as well as new stickers, will cost around £2,781,040, excluding VAT.

There are also other costs relating to informing Aberdeenshire residents about the changes, such as sending 122,000 “teaser postcards” to all households about the scheme for £45,832.

Information about the changes will be sent to residents.

But Zero Waste Scotland, which is funded by the Scottish Government, has offered Aberdeenshire Council £3.4 million from its £70m Recycling Improvement Fund to cover the capital costs.

Councillors have been recommended to accept this funding offer.

Elected members have also been urged to approve a “one-off cost” of just more than £565,000 for “project implementation costs” of temporary staffing pay and printing costs.

There would also be an estimated annual capital cost of £132,000, and recurring capital costs of £170,000 every five years.

When’s all this happening?

The council’s infrastructure services committee will be asked next week to approve the plans.

If the plans proceed as proposed, the council will aim to roll out the new changes to residents from August this year to June 2023.

Due to worries about ice and snow, bin delivery in the winter months is “not recommended” by council officers.

After officially rolling out in August, it is planned that the changes will only be implemented at one of the council’s six waste depots across the region at a time “to ensure the waste service can deal with the amount of customer enquiries generated”, and to sort any “teething problems”.

‘Confusing and unnecessary’

Councillor Colin Pike and some of the existing bins in use by Aberdeenshire Council’s waste and recycling service.

North Kincardine councillor Colin Pike has previously raised concerns about the plans, arguing that they are overly-complicated.

He has also raised fears the plans could lead to fly-tipping.

He said: “It will confuse the public, and is unnecessary.

“This is merely bowing to supposed free money from the Scottish Government to solve a problem that isn’t a problem.

“In my ward, in areas like Portlethen and Newtonhill, you have a lot of terrace-style housing with very small areas, where there will be problems with finding space for this new bin.”

Colin is also concerned about the cost to the council, and what this cash may be better spent on.

“We’re in a time when the council is in desperate financial straits,” he said.

“We have trouble with maintaining bridges, roads, general infrastructure, repairs in schools and the council housing stock, the council has far more urgent issues than this”.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Service’s Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said that he is mindful of differing opinions on the proposal.

“We are aware of the various views on the approach being proposed for the collection of waste in Aberdeenshire and have taken cognisance of those in producing the paper that will be considered by the ISC members on January 20,” he said.

You can read the official proposals here. 

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