Views will help inform the future of recycling in Aberdeenshire as survey closes

A survey aimed at improving recycling and waste services in Aberdeenshire has now closed.

It ran throughout February, gathering 3,923 responses which will now feed into future decisions on the approach to recycling and waste.

Six focus groups were also held across the region which allowed residents to give more detailed feedback on the proposals.

Residents gave their views on how Aberdeenshire Council services could be improved to boost the region’s recycling rate – currently 43.5% – and how to send less materials to landfill.

A recent waste analysis showed around 30,000 tonnes of materials that could be recycled using existing services are currently sent to landfill at the cost of around £3.5 million per year.

Possible changes put to residents to encourage the use of existing recycling services included introducing smaller kerbside landfill bins, less frequent collections of the current landfill bin, or both.

In addition, a new-look service could include opt-in garden waste collections from householders – either made possible by less frequent uplifts of landfill waste or as a paid-for service for those opting in.

The council’s recycling and waste team will now analyse the results from the survey and focus groups. These results and other considerations, including cost and operational viability, will feed into a future recycling and waste strategy.

A formal public consultation will be then held on that draft strategy to seek residents’ opinions, as well as those of councillors on the council’s six area committees in the autumn.

Any changes required as a result of the formal consultation will be made to the draft strategy, which will then go to the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee and Full Council for further discussion and decision.

Head of Roads, Landscape Services and Waste Management, Philip McKay, said: “We’re grateful to the many people who completed the survey on what is a very important, everyday issue for everyone across the region.

“Our team will use the results to make recommendations which lead to the creation of a service which enhances our recycling performance while continuing to provide the best value for money for Aberdeenshire residents and businesses.”