A Moray waste plant has reopened following a £2.9 million upgrade with the aim of handling all the region’s collections within three years.
The expanded facility at Moycroft in Elgin has the capacity to sort up to 60,000 tonnes of rubbish.
The upgrade, which has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, has also led to operations at Brumley Brae in the town and at Waste Watchers in Lossiemouth to move onto the same site.
Moray Council hopes bringing the facilities together will lead to long-term savings due to reduced rental costs while also increasing capacity.
It is understood that the pandemic has led to an upturn in the amount of rubbish being collected in bins due to people spending more time at home.
Council leader Graham Leadbitter believes the changes will lead to a “more efficient” service to benefit staff and residents.
He said: “Waste management is constantly evolving with a massively-increased amount of recycling in recent years, placing Moray in the top three recycling authorities in Scotland.
“A landfill ban is due to come in over the coming years, as well as the opening of a new ‘energy from waste’ facility in Aberdeen that will take non-recyclable waste from Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City councils. This investment makes sure that our waste service has the right tools for the job.
“The old Moycroft facility was really past its sell-by date and the facilities for our waste crews and those working on the site were pretty poor.”
The move to Moycroft from Lossiemouth will also lead to upgraded facilities for charity Moray Reach Out, which sorts recycled material for the council.
Moray Council was recently named as having the third best recycling rate in Scotland by Sepa with 59% of rubbish being recycled – ahead of the national average of 44.9%.
The increase of 1.5% from the previous year is expected to generate a saving of about £200,000 in landfill tax.
Moray Council waste manager Mike Neary said: “Everyone has a part to play in recycling more and sending less to landfill, and their efforts are celebrated in these latest figures.
“I’m particularly pleased to see that we continue to reduce the amount of waste produced, which is the one of the most effective ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Moray is bucking the national trend in this respect.
“We’ve seen this positive approach continue this year, despite the disruption caused by the pandemic.”