Changes to household waste and recycling centres (HWRC) across Aberdeenshire will come into force at the end of the month.
The changes, which will take effect from April 29, come as part of the council’s new waste strategy which aims to push up the area’s recycling rate and slash the amount of materials sent to landfill ahead of a ban on the practice.
Excluding Alford and Portlethen, all sites will now close earlier at 4.30pm (4pm on Fridays) and sites with seasonal extended opening hours on a Tuesday evening will now close at 7pm.
Portsoy and Insch HWRCS, which were due to close, will remain open on limited hours to accommodate local demand.
Meanwhile, sites with low recycling rates – Gardenstown, Hatton and Whitehills – will close and local residents are encouraged to use other nearby facilities.
Work continues to increase the number of materials accepted at recycling centres and to increase the number of reuse facilities available.
Additional staffing at each HWRC is expected to come into effect from summer with more staff on hand to assist residents and advise on the best suitable container for their waste.
The increase in customer service was trialled in 2016, with a 5% rise in recycling, and will be rolled out to recycling centres to help increase recycling rates and decrease waste disposal costs.
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Ros Baxter, waste manager, said: “These improvements to HWRCs are intended to provide an equitable level of service for all communities within existing budgets.
“We hope the recycling rate will increase at each site, which will in turn reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by the area as a whole, potentially saving money which can then be reinvested.”
The local authority has also reminded the public that leaving waste at collection points or HWRCs when they are closed or unavailable is considered to be flytipping and could result in prosecution.
Asbestos and tyres will no longer be accepted at HWRCs from Monday June 3 and residents are advised to make use of commercially available facilities.
Aberdeenshire’s recycling rate is 43.7%, but services currently available should allow a rate of over 70%.
Matt Davis, disposal team manager, said: “The majority of the area’s HWRCs are well used and all local communities are within relatively easy reach of one, so we hope we will see people making good use of them into the future.
“As well as providing additional local employment, the increase in customer service should be noticeable, with a knock-on effect for recycling rates while reducing materials sent to landfill.”