Concerns about wheelie bins set to be given to every home as part of a new recycling scheme have moved the council to assure the isles public that they have nothing to worry about.
Even some councillors have previously aired their reservations about the bins, due to be introduced from March 2018.
In August, councillor Andrea Manson said: “I can think of many, many people who will not be able to fix down their wheelie bins and they will fly away”. “It’s going to be a nightmare – be warned”, she added.
Every household will get two wheelie bins (one for paper and cardboard and one for cans, cartons and plastics) which will be collected every other week. Household waste, meanwhile, will be presented as normal and picked up every two weeks, too.
At a media briefing this afternoon (Monday), council officials said they had taken people’s views on board and come up with some advice and messages of reassurance.
SIC team leader of waste management Colin Bragg said: “There are minor wheelie bin problems but nothing insurmountable.”
He said there are three main issues which have been raised most often by members of the public.
The first is the impact of strong wind and the risk that some people will not be able to tether their bins in place.
But the solution to this problem, according to Mr Bragg and his colleague SIC director of infrastructure services Maggie Sandison, is to buy bungee cords.
“We have about 5,000 wheelie bins already in Shetland and people have come up with some really good ways of securing their bins,” said Ms Sandison.
“Something as simple as a bungee cord can be wrapped around your bin – and you can put another one on your lid – so we are suggesting things like that to people. That would only cost about £3 to get one of those bungee cords.”
Ms Sandison also recommended steel brackets which can be affixed to a fence or wall and allow a bin to be hooked in place.
Time was set aside at the media briefing for a demonstration on how to use the bungee cords and bracket.
Another issue which Mr Bragg said has frequently popped up is collection points that are hard for residents to access – particularly those at the end of main roads and in rural areas.
“If any individuals have specific issues about their collection points we would invite them to get in touch,” said Mr Bragg.
The last issue is the challenge that will be faced by elderly and vulnerable people, especially those who struggle to walk, because they might find it hard to drag their wheelie bins any great distance.
But Mr Bragg said an “assisted uplift scheme” was being drawn up and, when finalised, this would mean anyone needing help moving their bins would get it.
“We are very keen to make sure we are not putting people in a situation where they might come to harm,” said Mr Bragg.
In March 2018 the bins will be introduced to around 450 houses in Brae and Muckle Roe.
Any issues which then come to light will be taken into account as the roll-out across the rest of Shetland takes places over the summer.
Shetland’s recycling rate of nine per cent is far below the national average, which sits at 44 per cent.
The Scottish government wants the whole country to recycle 70 per cent of waste by 2025.