Council warns residents against fly-tipping of waste during Covid-19 emergency

Aberdeenshire Council is reminding residents that fly-tipping of waste materials is illegal and that offenders will be prosecuted.

While the authority understands residents’ frustrations over the temporary closure of its recycling centres and seasonal garden waste collection points in line with government advice due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is urging people to follow guidance and manage their waste responsibly during this difficult time.

It was necessary to close recycling centres on March 24 to discourage non-essential travel and to protect the council’s core kerbside collections which are maintaining a high level of service during these difficult times.

While the vast majority of residents are abiding by the advice to only put out the appropriate bins on collection days and store any additional materials until the household recycling centres reopen, there have been cases where people continue to flout the law.

Aberdeenshire Council’s waste services manager, Ros Baxter, explained: “I would strongly remind the public that fly-tipping is illegal and offenders will be prosecuted. Prior to the current emergency, we imposed several fines for fly-tipping and our teams will continue to serve penalties on those who break the law.

“While our household recycling centres remain temporarily closed at this time, we would ask householders not to leave bags of rubbish or any waste materials such as wood, metals or glass at the gates to these sites as this is also constitutes fly-tipping.

“Similarly, do not leave any textile donations for collection as textile banks are currently not being emptied as there is no demand for these products at this time.

“I would like to take those opportunity to thank all residents who are abiding by these rules and to thank all our dedicated staff who continue to provide an excellent household collection service across Aberdeenshire.”

With many of us now in lockdown at home, households may be producing more waste than usual, but the council has this important advice to heed:

• Residents should not be tempted to burn their waste or resort to fly-tipping

• Be wary of unsolicited approaches from anybody offering to dispose of waste for a fee without checking the service is being provided by a licensed trader, including any offers made on social media

• All household waste must be contained within bins, as handling bags and loose materials poses a direct health risk to bin crews and will not be collected

• Think twice before starting a clear-out, as you may have to hold on to the waste until recycling centres reopen

If you’re struggling to cope with the amount of waste in your bins, here are some tips for maximising space:

• Recycle as much as you can. Materials that are accepted in your household recycling bin include: Paper, card and cardboard; plastics (i.e. bottles, pots, tubs and trays); metals (i.e. tins, cans, aerosols and foil); and cartons (i.e. food and drink tetra-paks)

• Take advantage of your food caddy for all food waste. This includes tea bags and coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peelings, out-of-date food (i.e. meat and fish), plate scrapings and leftovers, etc

• Compress your rubbish bags before putting them in your refuse bin. But please don’t be tempted to stand in your bins, as they’re tapered and your bags might get stuck and not empty into the lorry

• Break down recyclable goods (i.e. cereal boxes) and squish air out of bottles and plastic containers (i.e. milk cartons and juice bottles). You can also stack plastic pots or slot items inside each other to create extra space

• Avoid buying non-essential items or materials with excessive packaging, where possible

• If you’re making online purchases, any resulting boxes, bubble wrap or plastic wrapping can be safely stored out of your bins until the lockdown is lifted

• Glass bins are still being emptied, so take your glass with you to the supermarket when you go for your shop

• The most environmentally friendly option for managing garden waste is home composting – garden waste can even be composted in a heap, or in a compost bin if you already have one

For a complete list of materials that are accepted in your household recycling bin: http://bit.ly/Recycling-A-Z

For information and advice on home-composting: http://www.recycleforscotland.com/reduce/home-composting 

For ideas on how to build a home compost bin by reusing materials:
https://www.diyncrafts.com/33618/home/gardening/35-cheap-easy-diy-compost-bins-can-build-weekend

For more information on changes to recycling and waste services during the Covid-19 outbreak, please see https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/waste-covid-19/

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