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Roll-out of kerbside recycling scheme ‘on schedule’

The recycling wheelie bins are fast becoming a common sight around Shetland.Untethered wheelie bins living dangerously this summer.

THE ROLL-OUT of kerbside recycling in Shetland is said to be “on time and on schedule” as more properties receive wheelie bins.

Households across the isles are being given two wheelie bins in phases as Shetland Islands Council (SIC) looks to address its poor recycling rate of less than ten per cent.

The average national recycling rate is 44 per cent, but Scottish Government has set a target of 70 per cent by 2025.

Collections are set to kick off from Monday in areas such as Burra, Gulberwick, Sandwick and Whiteness & Weisdale.

The North Isles will commence from 13 August, with Lerwick due to be the last area join up when collections start in the town from 10 September.

Chairman of the SIC’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson said there had been some problems with residents receiving information packs in the post.

“Unfortunately this has been outsourced and is outwith the council’s control,” he said.

“If you haven’t received your information pack please email recycling@shetland.gov.uk with your name and address and we will get one sent to you.”

There have also been some concerns from locals about the practicalities of their recyclables being collected, Thomson said – “but nothing that cannot be overcome”.

“The majority of the feedback I’ve received from the public is that they are fully behind the scheme and that it is working for most,” he added.

“I’ve said all along with something as new as this being introduced to Shetland that there will be problems to being with but nothing major and any issues are being dealt with.”

The councillor said that it is “vitally important Shetland starts to recycle properly and catch up with the rest of the country”, adding that most people seem to accept that the status quo “wasn’t an option”.

The recycling scheme has come under fire from some as refused derived oil is set to be imported from the UK mainland to replace now-recycled items previously burned in the isles’ incinerator to fuel Lerwick’s district heating system.

Zero Waste Scotland, however, said plastic recycled in Shetland would have to be shipped around the globe more than 15 times in order for landfill or incineration to be a more environmentally friendly option.

A dedicated sorting shed planned for Gremista which will enable staff to work through recycling collections has also been delayed, but it has not affected the roll-out.

“We will unfortunately continue to put things into landfill but far less than we were,” Thomson said.

“We will continue to have to burn refuse until an alternative is sought, again hopefully in the future. I don’t think anyone is questioning, however, that we can continue what we are doing.

“By dumping into landfill items that can be recycled and used again would be morally repugnant.”