Changes to household recycling centre bookings to be trialled across Aberdeenshire

Aberdeenshire Council’s household recycling centres will trial changes to their booking system from Friday 28 November.

The council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) made the decision yesterday (Thursday 6 October) to fully remove the booking system on a trial basis in the Banff & Buchan, Buchan, and Marr areas.

As part of that same trial, household recycling centres in Formartine will be put onto a hybrid booking system, which will allow for non-booking days each Wednesday and Saturday.

The Garioch and Kincardine & Mearns area committees will determine the options for their sites in due course.

Running until July next year, the trial will monitor the type, frequency, and total number of visits by all users for each site.

Much of the discussion at ISC centred around how to keep trade waste out of household recycling centres when the removal of the booking system goes live in some areas and on some days.

The booking system was first introduced as a traffic management tool and as a protective measure for customers and staff when centres first opened after the Covid lockdown in March of 2020. The introduction of the booking system also resulted in a reduction of waste typically associated with trade.

Waste collection and disposal is not included in business rates charges and all businesses across Scotland have a legal duty of care to separate and recycle their waste—the more waste they produce, the more it costs the business.

A report that investigates all avenues to mitigate financial loss from trade waste will be provided at a future ISC, including how ensure an appropriate service for trade within Aberdeenshire’s remote communities and how to maximise the amount of waste going to trade facilities.

Waste Manager Ros Baxter said: “We will closely monitor and identify waste typically associated with trade at our household recycling centres to minimise any impact on budgets.

“Where businesses fail to meet their legal duty of care, it can lead to prosecution under The Environmental Protection Act 1990.”

The decision on how the household recycling centre trial will operate considered feedback from all six area committees that took place across August and September.

ISC Chair John Crawley said: “Ease of access to household recycling centres for the public is of the utmost importance if we are to maximise recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill because, across Aberdeenshire, we do waste more than we recycle.

“This trial will help to identify the right methods to take forward for each area, as a one size fits all approach does not appear to be the solution.”

ISC Vice Chair Isobel Davidson said: “The booking system has been a success in some areas and has had its disadvantages in others. The new approaches we are putting in place will help us to weigh these out in a way that considers people with varying access to the physical sites and the online booking system.

“It will be interesting to see how this affects trade waste in each area and how we can maximise the amount we recycle against the cost of running our centres.”