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As new waste bins head to Caithness, English councils scrap similar initiatives seen as ‘confusing’


By David G Scott

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Caithness residents feeling discouraged about the forthcoming bin changes may have noted that English councils are set to scrap similar systems after the Government declared them “confusing”.

Recycling Minister Robbie Moore informed English householders on May 9 that a “new, common-sense approach to recycling will make bin day simpler and boost recycling rates for the nation”.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) press release stated: “New simpler recycling collections will see the same materials collected from homes, workplaces and schools, ending the confusing patchwork of different approaches across England.”

Recycling bins being picked up in Wick by council workers. Householders will have a new system to deal with from September. Picture: DGS
Recycling bins being picked up in Wick by council workers. Householders will have a new system to deal with from September. Picture: DGS

Meanwhile, a new system will be introduced to Caithness in September with letters and an information booklet explaining how the new waste and recycling service will work. A new non-recyclable waste bin will also be delivered.

Highland Council is altering the collections so that recyclable material is split into two wheelie bins, while waste for landfill will go into a new, smaller bin.

The collection details are as follows:

First date: Your new non-recyclable waste grey bin (and silver food waste caddies if you are in a food waste collection area) will be delivered to your property.

Second date: Your green bin will be changed to a mixed plastics, metals, and food and drinks cartons recycling bin after it has been emptied on its usual collection day.

Third date: Your blue bin will be changed to a paper, card and cardboard only recycling bin after it has been emptied on its usual collection day.

The new, slightly slimmer black/grey bins will be delivered to Caithness residents.
The new, slightly slimmer black/grey bins will be delivered to Caithness residents.

The council further states that each resident’s grey non-recyclable waste bin will be collected every two weeks; the green recycling bin will be collected every four weeks; and the blue recycling bin will be collected every four weeks.

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “The council, through a phased approach, is currently making improvements to waste and recycling collections to reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste sent for disposal and increase the amount recycled.

“Separating the recyclable material collected at the kerbside into two bins is called twin stream recycling and will improve the quality and quantity of recycling, reduce the costs associated with waste disposal, which in turn will help to maintain other vital services.

“Householders can help us achieve these goals by recycling more of their waste. As the quality and quantity of recycling improves, this will reduce the costs associated with waste disposal.

“Additionally, this will help make it easier for the public to recycle more, helping them to reduce their impact on the environment.”

A new bin along with updated regulations will be coming to Caithness soon. Picture: DGS
A new bin along with updated regulations will be coming to Caithness soon. Picture: DGS

The situation south of the border came about from the government “listening to councils who want to avoid streets cluttered with bins”.

English councils will be allowed to collect plastic, metal, glass, paper and card in one bin in all circumstances. Similarly, food and garden waste will also be allowed to be co-collected.

Defra stated: “This will reduce confusion over what items can be recycled, as people will no longer have to check what their specific council will accept for recycling.

“It will also reduce complexity for councils and other waste collectors, ensuring they retain the flexibility to collect recyclable waste in the most appropriate way for their local areas.”

Westminster also supports more frequent and comprehensive bin collections in England with councils expected to collect black bin waste at least fortnightly, alongside weekly food waste collections.

“This will stop the trend – seen outside England – towards three-weekly or four-weekly bin collections. Councils are also being actively encouraged to make collections even more frequent, to prevent smelly waste from building up outside homes.

“Together, these new proposals will ensure regular and simpler bin collections from people’s homes across England – making recycling simpler for everyone.”

Highland Council poster for the new bin rollout.
Highland Council poster for the new bin rollout.

There was £6.55m from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund awarded to Highland Council to enhance waste and recycling collections for communities across the region.

The funding includes the provision of all the new non-recyclable waste bins to householders along with facilitating the expansion of the food waste collection service to another 30,000 households in the region, further enhancing the recycling services provided by the council.

Highland Council stated: “Caithness householders will receive a letter ahead of the changes and then an information booklet with their new calendar when the new non-recyclable waste bin is delivered.”


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