SIC will encourage people to recycle despite the cuts

The SIC insists it remains com­mitted to encouraging more islanders to recycle their waste – despite the imminent axing of kerbside collections in Lerwick and Scalloway.

From 1st April, fortnightly recycling col-lections will be halted in order to save £90,000 a year. But environmental health manager Maggie Sandison said “bring sites” at Lerwick’s two supermarkets were being expanded and the SIC was working with community councils to find other suitable sites where folk could take their recycling.

Funding of £29,000 from Zero Waste Scotland will allow improve­ments to be made to the recycling area at the Gremista dump. “We’re conscious it’s not maybe the most attractive place to go,” Mrs Sandi­son said.

Although some officials confess that taking the collection vehicle out of service is only liable to lessen the amount of waste being recycled in the short term, Mrs Sandison insisted: “What we have is a com­mitment to increase our recycling rate.”

Many local authorities in Scotland are moving towards a target of recycling 60 per cent of household waste. In 2011 the national average was 41 per cent. In comparison, the SIC only recycled 17 per cent that year – though that is largely because it focuses on converting rubbish into energy through the waste-to-heat plant, which supplies the district heating scheme.

The cost of collecting and shipping recycled material to the mainland is much higher due to Shetland’s remote location.

Environment and transport committee chair-man Allan Wishart said Zero Waste Scotland would be carrying out a waste audit with the SIC over the summer. After that a new waste strategy is to be drawn up and published in September.

Mr Wishart said the relatively low volume of material made it difficult to see how a recycling collection could be viable.

It costs £489 per tonne to collect recycling from people’s door-steps, compared to only £211 per tonne from “bring sites”.

He said: “The council is not giving up on recycling – nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just doing it differently. There needs to be quite a lot more emphasis on the necessity of recycling. I think collection banks are the answer to that.”

Mrs Sandison pointed out that only 30 per cent of Lerwick and Scalloway households used the kerbside collection. She hopes a good proportion of environmentally conscious people will make the extra effort to continue re-cycling.

“I would expect that some people may find it more inconvenient than having the collection on their doorstep,” Mrs Sandison said. “What we really want to do is try and encourage more people – some people were put off by having to keep recycling in the house for up to two weeks.”

Collection sites at Tesco and the Co-operative do not take plastic but new containers are being ordered which will change that.

Mrs Sandison said it was important that people recycled the right type of plastic – mainly just bottles – to ensure the recycling effort was not self-defeating. If other plastics, such as yoghurt and butter cartons, were included in the mix it could result in material being rejected at the other end by processors.

She said Zero Waste Scotland’s audit would tell the council what the composition of its waste was and “try to identify the best solution”.

“They’ll be taking our black bags, looking at what’s in them and what elements of recycling are in there,” she said.

Efforts are to be made to encourage more people from outwith Lerwick and Scalloway to bring their recycling into town on planned visits.

Mr Wishart said he hoped the change – like some other council cuts being ushered in – might result in a more neighbourly community spirit springing up.

He added: “If there are elderly and disabled, one would hope that neighbours would help them by taking bottles etc. for recycling.”


Add Your Comment
  • Barbara johnson

    • March 16th, 2013 12:49

    Not very green for our beautiful Island,just think of all the plastic that will be in black bags going to landfill,only town in the uk giving up there recycling collection,they should be upping the the recycling collection to every week and more area’s than Lerwick and Scalloway.And cutting down on the black bags collection like every 2nd week to encourage recycling.

  • Craig Timmins

    • March 18th, 2013 10:59

    I think, that sometimes getting people to recycle needs some kind of incentive. You have 3 classes of people:

    Those that enjoy recycling and will do it regardless
    Those that know the importance of recycling, and will recycle some things but not others.
    Those that don’t recycle or care for the planet, but will gladly recycle for a cash return of some kind.

  • James Anderson

    • March 21st, 2013 9:30

    Time for a reality check.

    Shetland has a very effective recycling system in the incinerator/district heating scheme.

    All black bags and most other rubbish are incinerated, very little goes to landfill anymore.

    Specifically, plastics, paper, and even glass can be “recycled” this way – instead of doing more damage to the environment by being collected, processed, and the delivered, seperately (just imagine the carbon footprint!!!)

    This also applies to many so called “green” initiatives, such as “real nappies” – In shetland all disposable nappies go on to create heat – washing real nappies wastes electricity, and result in needless amounts of detergent being washed into the sewage system, or often just the sea.

    So, lets try to actually BE “green”, instead of playing at it and wasting time, money, and actually doing more damage to the environment in the process..

  • Tom Sclater

    • March 26th, 2013 18:24

    This is frustrating to see, we don’t need the people of Shetland to be inconvenienced and discouraged when it comes to something as important to us as recycling.

    We should be setting a positive example when it comes to this one area in which we can be so beneficial, or at least not as detrimental to our planet. Especially in these times of heightened collective awareness of our actions, our so called “governing bodies” should reflect the attitude of the majority* on this subject especially.

    * I know I can only speak for myself, but it really is a “no-brainer” for anyone with any common sense.

    In reply to Craig, there shouldn’t need to be an incentive for people to recycle once they actually see the full extent to the filth we (collectively) have gathered on this planet. Maybe an awareness campaign would help.

    I will be taking further action if I do not see some effort to address key issues such as this, as I know I have the support and alignment of ideas of many of my peers.

    There are many areas that should really be cut instead of these, especially seen as it isn’t a big money loss – but I guess it’s increasingly about profit these days.

    And finally here’s some inspiration for you all,

  • James Anderson

    • March 27th, 2013 9:03

    Having read this initial article again, I see a glaring error by the SIC which needs to be amended –

    “the SIC only recycled 17 per cent that year – though that is largely because it focuses on converting rubbish into energy through the waste-to-heat plant”

    Converting the rubbish (including plastics etc) into heat *IS* recycling, at its very best. So everything that goes through the incinerator should be included in the councils recycling percentage.

    Doing anything else (collecting seperately, shipping south etc) is insanely detrimental to the environment when looked at sensibly.

    For once, the SIC has it right, get everything in black bags and do our bit.


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