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COVID-19 — recycling services to be suspended

Orkney Islands Council is making significant changes to waste and recycling services because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

The council is already operating with a reduced workforce as a result of emergency measures introduced by the government to minimise the spread of the virus.

As announced last week, a “business as usual” approach is no longer possible according to OIC, who are now focusing on the delivery of only the most essential services.

“Unfortunately, this means that many other services will be restricted or stopped altogether during the outbreak,” said Darren Richardson, the Council’s head of strategic projects and infrastructure. As a result, we’ve had to take the decision to focus our efforts on the collection and disposal of household and commercial waste, while suspending our recycling services.”

The following changes will be made:

  • Closure of all Household Recycling Centres – Bossack, Hatston, St. Margaret’s Hope, Cursiter and Garson – from today (Monday 30 March) in line with Government guidance that only essential travel should be undertaken.
  • Closure of all Recycling Points (Mainland). Skips will be removed once full and not replaced.
  • Closure of Isles recycling points. Please do not use these containers from now on and, if at all possible, store recyclable items at home.
  • No bulky waste or special collection service (all areas), but assisted collections will continue.
  • No recycling collection service (all areas, domestic and commercial). These will take place for the final time on Tuesday 31 March.
  • Domestic waste collection (grey bins) to continue on a fortnightly basis on your usual waste collection day. Residents who do not currently have bins can put black bags out for collection from the kerbside instead. This service will be available to all households, even if you have not previously used the Council’s kerbside collection services. Leave bagged rubbish at the kerbside outside your home or at the end of private roads for collection.
  • Domestic waste collection (red bags) to continue on a fortnightly basis on your usual waste collection day. If residents run out of red bags, please use standard black bags (widely available from supermarkets and grocery stores) and these will be collected from the kerbside.
  • Isles waste collection services will continue but are likely to be affected by changes to ferry timetables.  We will endeavour to continue to collect Isles’ waste, but collection days may be subject to short-notice changes.
  • Commercial waste collections will continue and existing customers can continue to use the commercial facilities at Chinglebraes and Bossack. Entry to both will be via the weighbridge.
  • Litter bins will only be emptied when full. We are encouraging people to take litter and dog waste home with them and dispose of it there.

Mr Richardson added: “In normal times, we greatly appreciate the efforts people make to recycle a wide range of household and commercial items. But these are far from normal times, which is why we’ve had to make the difficult decision to suspend our recycling services.

“We are not the only Council making this move, and we understand that 28 of the 32 local authorities across Scotland are also working on revised arrangements.

“We are asking folk if at all possible to store their recycling until these services can begin again. We’re aware that this won’t be an option for everyone, but we would ask that recyclable items are only included as a last resort on grey bin collection days.”

He added: “People will be disappointed, and we apologise for the inconvenience these measures will cause. But in these unprecedented times, there is a need to ensure we can continue with the most essential operations with a limited workforce during the weeks and months ahead.

“We ask all businesses and householders to be considerate during this time and to make every effort to minimise the waste that is put out for collection, bearing in mind that higher than normal volumes can cause delays and missed collections for other households and businesses.

“We are extremely grateful for your co-operation during this difficult period and also for the efforts of our office and depot staff, crews and drivers, who are already going above and beyond in providing vital waste collection services under extremely challenging conditions.”

Any further changes will be announced through local media, on the Council website and using OIC’s social media channels.