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News / Recycling scheme off to ‘strong start’ up north

THE FIRST collections for Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) new kerbside recycling scheme took place on Wednesday in Brae and Muckle Roe.

The two areas are part of a pilot before the new scheme is rolled out fully across Shetland in the summer.

New wheelie bins were given out to residents in the North Mainland villages last month ahead of the first collection.

Chairman of the SIC’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson said there had already been a “significant decrease” in the amount of general waste being collected before the scheme started.

It’s part of a new scheme approved by councillors last year in a bid to improve Shetland’s poor recycling rate of just nine per cent as the Scottish Government imposes more stringent targets.

The council said that no problems were reported regarding Wednesday’s collections.

Brae resident Robert Balfour said the feeling in the village was that most people were behind the scheme, although the “general consensus is that it’s something that needs to be done, so get on with it.”

Jordan Clark, also from Brae, said the response has been “overly positive”.

“It’s nice to see a whole community make a massive change over night,” he said.

Residents received a bin with a blue lid for paper, card and cardboard, and one with a grey lid for cans, cartons and plastic bottles. Non-recyclable waste will be collected every two weeks, while one recycling bin will be collected a fortnight.

“We recently took part in a community engagement exercise in Muckle Roe and Brae and it was fantastic to hear that the vast majority of those spoken to were positive about the new service and had no concerns,” Thomson said.

“Wednesday was of course the first day of the new recycling collection service and I’m personally delighted that Shetland is now at the stage where we can offer a doorstep recycling service and join the rest of the UK in doing so.

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“A personal thank you must go to the residents of Brae and Muckle Roe for helping and assisting us in getting the new recycling service off to such a strong start.”

Concerns have been expressed by the public – and some councillors – about how the wheelie bins may cope in high winds, but the local authority has provided two bungee cords to allow residents to secure them.

The average national recycling rate in Scotland, meanwhile, is 44 per cent, but the government has pledged a target of 70 per cent by 2025.

The council has received over £500,000 from Zero Waste Scotland to implement its new scheme.

A more limited recycling collection was abandoned by the SIC almost five years ago, with recycling rates plummeting since.

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