SIC wastes no time in promoting wheelie bins

FOLK in the north mainland of Shetland can expect a knock at their doors this week from Zero Waste Scotland employees as they look to alleviate any concerns in the community about the local authority’s plans to get serious with waste recycling.

The new islands-wide kerbside programme, which will introduce two 240 litre wheelie bins for cardboard, plastic and cans recycling, will be phased in at 450 households in Brae and Muckle Roe from March next year.


SIC waste managers hosted a media briefing on Monday to demonstrate a number of simple solutions to help overcome concerns that the bins are unsuitable for Shetland’s climate and would simply be blown across the isles in gales.

Chairman of the transport and environment committee, Ryan Thomson, said that whilst he had no doubt that the new system would bring “initial challenges”, he added that Shetland was required to improve on its poor recycling figures.


During the meeting, council officials set out a number of simple methods to secure the bins, such as the use of two bungee cords, or a special metal bin clamp which has been developed by a local firm.

SIC waste management team leader Colin Bragg said: “With the kerbside recycling collections due to start next year, we understand the concerns that have been raised about weather in Shetland and the potential disruption that hundreds of displaced bins could create.

“After speaking to the innovative people within our community we are delighted to present some very simple and practical solutions to overcome this potential problem.”


SIC infrastructure director Maggie Sandison said Shetland couldn’t continue as before and had to improve its recycling rate of just nine per cent.

She said burning most of its waste was like “burning money” as higher recycling rates was not just good for the environment but could also generate much needed additional income.

At present the SIC pays £45 for every tonne of waste that is incinerated at the energy recovery plant in Lerwick, while raw material like aluminium cans, if separated from the waste stream, could be sold for as much as £1,000 a tonne.

Once a recycling rate of 20 per cent has been achieved, the programme would generate an income for the SIC, officials have calculated.

The two new 240 litre recycling bins will be distributed to all households in Shetland as of next year – a blue lidded one for paper and cardboard and a grey lidded one for can, plastics and cartons.

There will be no bins for non-recyclable waste as households will be required to be dispose of it as before, and will be collected fortnightly.

Apologies for the sound quality on the video clip. It’s been rather windy out at Gremista.