The results are in from a public survey to inform the future of recycling and waste services in Aberdeenshire.
The Big Recycling Challenge survey was run by Aberdeenshire Council in February 2018 to find out residents’ views on some of the proposals to increase recycling in the area. Almost 4,000 survey responses were received
At the moment the recycling rate is 43.5%, meaning over half of the materials put into local landfill bins are recyclable through existing services. That’s 30,000 tonnes of recyclable materials being sent to landfill at a cost of £3.5million a year.
Recycling generally costs less than half of landfilling waste. If all recyclable waste was recycled effectively, the area’s recycling rate could be well over 70%, also saving lots of taxpayers’ money.
A new recycling and waste strategy is being developed to ensure Aberdeenshire maximises the benefits from the waste it produces as a community.
The new strategy will also help comply with new regulatory requirements banning landfilling of biodegradable waste by 2021, and work towards meeting reuse and recycling targets set by the Scottish Government – 60% by 2020 and 70% by 2025.
The survey was the first part of engagement with residents; a full public consultation on the new waste strategy will take place in the autumn.
Head of Roads, Waste and Landscape Services, Philip McKay, said: “As well as missing out on significant environmental and local benefits, we are literally spending millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money dealing with material that should have been recycled. This money could be much better spent on other essential services.
“The services currently provided should allow us all to recycle over 70% of the waste we produce.
“While we will continue to provide information to residents about how to use the current services, we clearly have to make some changes in the way we all deal with items that we no longer have a use for.
“We all have a role to play, by firstly reducing the amount of waste we produce, and secondly by thinking carefully about what we should do with items we no longer have a use for, but that could be reused or recycled.
“The process of producing the strategy will involve further public consultation and I’d encourage everyone to have their say to ensure we have the best possible approach as a community to dealing with this issue in coming years.”
The survey also found 88% put their blue recycling bin out for collection every time, and 59% already fully use their weekly recycling bin capacity (or require a second bin).
Over 1,700 suggestions for new glass recycling points were received – these are currently being followed up with a view to installation in communities.
You can see all of the survey results, which give a snapshot of local recycling habits and preferences here