20 September 2021

Residents encouraged to engage in review of household recycling centre systems

Aberdeenshire Council is encouraging every resident in the region to participate in a review of household recycling centres.

The council is reviewing the protocols which are currently in place at its 15 sites including the booking system, the limit system for vans and trailers and the Automatic Number Plate Recognition system (ANPR).

The review - to be completed by January next year - will consider the pros and cons of the various elements and whether they are achieving their original purpose.

A survey is now live on the council’s Engage platform until October 17 for people to complete whether they have or haven’t used an HRC at: https://engage.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/household-waste-recycling-centres/survey_tools/booking-system-survey

If you have any queries regarding the survey please call 03456 081207 or email recyclingcentrepermits@aberdeenshire.gov.uk

Paper copies can be picked up at any HRC and council service points and either handed back to that source or posted to: Aberdeenshire Council, Waste Management, Unit 7, Harlaw Way, Inverurie, AB51 4SG.

A review of the means available to traders to dispose of their waste lawfully and consideration of any means to improve the options available will also be undertaken.

The booking system was originally introduced as a way of providing physical distancing at the start of the pandemic but has been shown to provide numerous additional benefits such as improved traffic management, especially at the larger, busier sites.

Booking has also evened out usage across the day and during the week so there are controlled numbers of vehicles onsite allowing greater access to skips and reducing the health and safety risk of pedestrian and vehicle interaction.

Important changes were also introduced at the centres in early August to improve the experience for householders as follows:

• The number of visits permitted for domestic-style pick-ups became unlimited, unless they are using a trailer - a domestic-style pick-up and trailer combination will now be permitted 24 visits per year in line with the existing trailer allowances

• We also moved from householders with cars from 8 visit in 4 weeks to unlimited access in August

• The size of admissible trailers increased from 8 feet (2.5m) to 10 feet (3)

• Car-derived van and trailer combinations are now permitted at all centres

During recent discussions, some councillors commented on the negative view some users had of the booking system, however others said equally there were those who enjoyed not having to queue at an HRC and it avoided any blocking of roads in the surrounding area.

Aberdeenshire Council’s waste manager, Ros Baxter, explained: “Since introducing the booking system, we have continued to monitor the data and although footfall has dropped by just over half comparing the 10 months pre- and post-April 2020, we are still seeing similar tonnages of waste and recycling coming through the sites over the same period.

“This indicates that customers are making fewer visits but with more material in each visit, which has an added environmental benefit. Currently most recycling centres are not at full capacity and bookings are generally available for the same day or the day after.

“I would encourage all residents to participate in our survey as your feedback and ideas will help us to continually improve the services we provide at our household recycling centres.”