New Kerbside Recycling Scheme Aims to Improve Dire Recycling Rates in Shetland

Employees from Zero Waste Scotland are engaging with residents in Shetland to alleviate concerns many of them have about new local authority recycling plans. Public sessions are being held to give people more information on how the new recycling scheme will work, after councillors voted to give every household two 240 litre wheelie bins as part of a plan to introduce kerbside recycling of paper, cardboard, cans, plastics, and cartons next year.

 

What does the new scheme involve?

The new kerbside recycling scheme will be piloted in the Brae and Muckle Roe areas from next March. 450 households will get a blue-lidded bin for paper and cardboard, and a grey-lidded bin for cans, plastics, and cartons, before the rest of Shetland gets the bins from July onwards.

Non-recyclable waste will be collected on alternating weeks, and will be sent to an energy recovery facility in Lerwick.

Addressing the residents’ concerns

A series of public meetings were held to address the residents’ concerns that the bins would be blown away by the gales that the island frequently experiences. Council officials suggested the use of bungee cords or a specially made metal clamp to secure the bins, and reassured residents that though there may be teething problems with the scheme, it would help Shetland to improve its dire recycling rate.

 

Why the recycling needs to improve

Council officials said that Shetland needed to improve its recycling rate, which is a poor 9%. The island incinerates its waste, which is a very expensive method.

The government wants to achieve a 70% recycling rate across Scotland, and introducing the scheme in Shetland will go some way to really improving waste management in an area where recycling levels have been historically low.

The new scheme will save money

Every ton of incinerated waste costs the council £45, and if they recycled aluminium cans, they could be sold for £1000 per tonne. So rather than being a constant cost and a drain on resources, recycling could actually generate an income for Shetland council.