New figures show that recycling in Aberdeenshire has increased following a change to recycling and waste services.
The roll-out of new services to more than 114,000 households began in north Aberdeenshire in September 2013 and ended in Kincardine in Mearns last March.
Now figures from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency show that the council’s recycling rate increased from 36% in 2013 before the new service started to 40% during 2014.
This is on track for the predicted 44% recycling rate the service was designed to achieve, once the whole of Aberdeenshire has been using the new blue recycling bins and green food caddies for a year.
Households now have a greater range of recyclates collected in the same bin and have seen the introduction of a weekly food waste collection service.
The figures are even more impressive given that glass is no longer collected at the kerbside to comply with government guidance aimed at pushing up the quality of recycled materials.
Glass is accepted at an extensive network of household waste recycling centres (one is being built at Portlethen) and recycling points throughout the area and the council can supply smaller local facilities where required – these have already been installed in 65 locations.
Changes to the way recycling and waste are dealt with in Aberdeenshire were introduced to help push up recycling rates and reduce waste going to landfill.
As well as the increased weight of collected recyclates, since April 2014 more than 5,000 tonnes of food waste have been recycled, most of which would previously have gone to landfill.
This food waste now becomes agricultural fertiliser: this year’s food waste helps grow next year’s crops.
The council’s figures show customers prefer the new service: there has been an increase from 65% participation in recycling using the old ‘box’ service, to 96% recycling using the new blue bins.
Food participation rates remain lower than general recycling at between 45-65%, but this is broadly reflected across Scotland. National campaigns will run soon to encourage food waste recycling.
The changes are designed both to help the council meet the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste targets by increasing the range of materials collected at the kerbside and to make it easy for householders to use, raising the recycling rate.
Information on recycling and waste in Aberdeenshire is available by calling Wasteline on 03456 08 12 07 or on the council’s website: http://bit.ly/WasteAndRecycling