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FAQ's - New Waste and Recycling Service

The way we are collecting your waste is changing. We're making it easier for households to recycle more of their waste and make sure we can do our part to tackle the climate crisis.

Below, we've answered some of the main questions being asked about this new service. If you'd like to know more about the service and how it affects you, please look for the relevant contact details below.

1. What is changing?

Residents in Annandale and Eskdale, Nithsdale, and Stewartry will soon receive a new kerbside recycling service. Residents in Wigtownshire received this service in November 2020.

2. Why the change?

In July 2016 Dumfries and Galloway Council signed the Charter for Household Recycling in Scotland which included the commitment to improving household waste and recycling services and implementing the Code of Practice for Household Recycling in Scotland. This commitment was included within the Council's Plan 2017 - 2022 to roll out a charter compliant household recycling scheme across the region. This new service will also allow Dumfries and Galloway to help Scotland meet its ambitious target of recycling 70% of all waste by 2025.

In 2019 Dumfries and Galloway Council declared a Climate Emergency and identified a series of actions to achieve net zero carbon status by 2025, including recycling more of our waste.

Recycling can help to reduce carbon emissions as it takes less energy to make recycled products than using raw materials.

3. What new bins will I receive?

Most residents will be provided with two new bins:

  • Red-lidded 240 litre wheeled bin for plastics, metals and cartons.
  • Blue-lidded 240 litre wheeled bin for paper, card and cardboard.

Some properties may not have space for individual bins so will be provided with communal (shared) bins or recycling bags instead.

4. I use bags instead of bins - can I still recycle?

Yes, if you currently use Council supplied bags for your waste, you can still use the new recycling service. We will supply you with weighted re-usable hessian sacks for your recycling instead of wheelie bins.

You will receive:

  • 2 blue recycling sacks for paper and cardboard
  • 2 red sacks for plastics, metals and cartons.

You can ask for more sacks if you need them.

Leave your recycling sacks at your usual collection point on your collection day to be emptied and returned. You should continue to use your Council supplied bags for your non-recyclable waste.

If you want to change from hessian sacks to wheelie bins for recycling, you can do this online using our 'Report It' app: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/

5. How often will my bins be collected?

Your non-recyclable waste bin will be collected fortnightly and your recycling bins every 4 weeks. The new bins will be collected on the alternative week between your non-recyclable waste collections, and always on your usual collection day.

For example:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Grey non-recyclable waste bin

Blue-lidded recycling bin

Grey non-recyclable waste bin

Red-lidded recycling bin

You will only present one bin for collection each week on your usual collection day.

A calendar will be delivered with your new bins, confirming what your collection day is and which bin to put out. If you live in a flat and share your bins, you will receive a letter confirming your collection day.

You can view a copy of your collection calendar for your address using our bin checker tool.

6. When will the new service start?

Your new bins will arrive at least 2 weeks before the new collections are due to start.

Bins will be delivered to residents in Stewartry over a three week period, starting w/c 15 March and the first collections of the new service will begin w/c 5 April.

The new service will be provided to Nithsdale in April and Annandale and Eskdale in May; specific dates for bin deliveries will be confirmed nearer the time.

You will receive information about the new service in advance. A collection calendar will be delivered with your new bins, confirming what your collection day is and which bin to put out.

7. What can I recycle?

You will be able to recycle a range of items using the new bins.

You can use the red-lidded bin to recycle plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays; metal tins, cans, foil and empty aerosols; and food and drink cartons.

You can use the blue-lidded bin to recycle all paper, card and cardboard.

When your new bins are delivered there will be an information leaflet attached that explains how to use the new kerbside recycling service, including what you can and cannot recycle, how to prepare materials correctly for recycling and how to recycle other items that are not collected at the kerbside.

8. What information will I receive about the new service?

All households will receive an introductory teaser card in the post to let you know about the new recycling service.

This will be followed by further information specific to property type:

  • If you normally put your bin out at the kerbside for collection, you will receive your 2 new bins with a service leaflet and collection calendar attached to one of them. Please remove them and keep them safe for future reference.
  • If you live in a flat and share your bins with neighbours, you will each receive in the post a letter confirming your service type, collection calendar and information leaflet.
  • If your waste is collected from the road end, you will receive a letter in the post advising you of the new service. When your 2 new recycling bins are delivered, a service leaflet and collection calendar will be attached to one of them - please remove them and keep them safe for future reference.

9. What about glass bottles and jars?

You should take glass bottles and jars to any Recycling Point or Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) - you can find out where your nearest one is using the Find My Nearest Tool

We are rolling out over 80 new glass recycling points across the region and as soon as they are in place, you can use them. There is no need to separate glass colours, just rinse, remove lids and tops and put them into the recycling point.

10. What about food waste?

In Summer/Autumn 2021 a new weekly food waste collection will be provided to residents in the following towns:

  • Annan
  • Dalbeattie
  • Dumfries
  • Gretna
  • Lockerbie

You will receive information about the new service in advance, including how to take part in the service, what you can and cannot recycle and how to request more food waste liners. Residents in Stranraer are already able to recycle food waste using this service.

For residents outwith these towns, food waste can be placed in your non-recyclable waste bin.

11. How big are the new bins?

Most households will receive 2 new standard sized wheelie bins, each with a capacity to hold 240litres. These are the same size as most existing non-recyclable waste bins.  They measure approximately 1140mm (H) x 740mm (D) x 570mm (W).

Communal (shared) bins may be considered where limited space to store bins might be a problem, e.g. for terraced properties with no access to rear gardens.

To discuss this option, contact our Waste Collections Team:

Requests can be made to swap standard size wheelie bins for smaller ones. This would apply to all bins so the non-recyclable waste and two recycling bins would all be swapped.  Please note that any requests for smaller bins will not be actioned until 8 weeks after we receive your request. This is to allow two full collection cycles to take place and for you to be confident you do not need the maximum capacity.  Please contact us using the details above to make this request. 

12. I have a smaller sized bin - what size recycling bins will I receive?

If you currently have a smaller sized bin (120 or 140litre capacity) for your non-recyclable waste, we will provide you with a set of 2 x 140litre recycling bins.

Please contact us if you would like to receive standard sized (240litre) recycling bins instead:

13. Can I have additional recycling bins if I need them?

When the new service is first rolled out, households will be provided with 2 x 240 litre wheelie bins for recycling materials. Squashing and flattening items such as plastic bottles and cardboard boxes will help to use the recycling bins to their full capacity.

If you are producing more recycling than will fit into these bins, we can provide additional recycling bins free of charge. You can contact us using our online reporting app https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/

14. Can I swap my small non-recyclable waste bin for a larger one?

A standard sized wheelie bin has a capacity of 240litres. If you currently have a smaller sized bin (120 or 140litre capacity) for your non-recyclable waste, you can swap it for a set of 2 x 240litre recycling bins plus a 240litre non-recyclable waste bin (three bins of the same size).

You can do this online using our 'Report It' app: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/

You cannot have a larger non-recyclable waste bin with smaller recycling bins.

15. Can I swap my larger non-recyclable waste bin for a smaller bin?

We would encourage you to try the new bins for a month as you may need the extra capacity once your non-recyclable waste is collected every two weeks instead of weekly. Following this 'trial period', you can request to have your larger bin removed and replaced with a smaller capacity bin using our online reporting app; https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/

16. Can I get an additional non-recyclable waste bin under the new service?

Households will be provided with a single 240litre bin for non-recyclable waste. If 6 or more people live permanently in the household or if you are generating additional waste due to medical reasons, you may be entitled to additional capacity.

If you meet one of these criteria, you can apply online: https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/

17. Can I leave extra waste beside the bins for collection?

No, side waste will not be collected.

Additional non-recyclable and recyclable waste can be disposed of at your local Household Waste Recycling Centre or you can arrange for a bulky uplift.

Extra recycling bins can be provided free of charge by contacting us online at https://info.dumgal.gov.uk/faultreporting/

18. Will my assisted pull-out service continue for my new bins?

Yes, if you already receive an assisted service for your non-recyclable bin, it will extend to your new recycling bins as well. Our operatives will collect the new bins from your house, empty and return it on your collection day.

If you currently do not receive and assisted pull-out service and think you may be eligible, you can apply for assistance by contacting us:

You will be asked to confirm every two years that you still require an assisted pull -out service.

19. I am partially sighted; how will I access the new recycling service?

The new bins have notches on them to help users distinguish between the different bins. The bin for paper, card and cardboard has one notch on the lip of the lid, and the bin for plastics, metals and cartons has two notches on the lid.

The information leaflet is available in different formats on request e.g. large print, to help householders take part in the new recycling service.

20. Where will my recycling go?

Paper, card and cardboard collected from your blue-lidded bin or sack will be baled and sent to reprocessors for recycling into newspapers and packaging.

Plastics, metals and cartons from your red-lidded bin or sack will be sorted, baled and sent to reprocessors for recycling into new products.

Glass collected at Recycling Points and Household Waste Recycling Centres will be sorted, crushed and sent to reprocessors for recycling into new glass bottles and jars.

21. Is the delivery of new bins safe during the Covid-19 pandemic?

The recycling bins and sacks being delivered have been newly manufactured.  All crews will have the appropriate PPE when delivering your new bins and sacks.

Local authorities across Scotland are working hard to provide the best possible service whilst dealing with the impact of coronavirus. Waste and recycling crews are designated key workers. Follow these simple steps when you receive your new bins or sacks, and before and after your regular bin collections to protect yourself as well as protecting our frontline workers:

  • Clean handles with disinfectant before handling, before and after collection.
  • Bag any wipes, cloths and gloves used for cleaning and put into the non-recycling bin.
  • Put bins or sacks out the evening before your collection is scheduled.
  • Bring your bins or sacks back in immediately after collection to help keep pavements clear to support the two-metre physical social distancing advice.
  • If you or someone in your household is showing symptoms of coronavirus, please make sure any waste items like tissues or disposable items including bottles and cloths are double bagged and stored for 72 hours before being put into the non-recycling bin.

Supplementary questions

22. Can I use wheelie bin liners in my new recycling bins?

No wheelie bin liners will not be required for the new recycling bins as all the items being placed into them should be clean, dry and washed and either squashed or flattened.

23. What about garden waste?

Garden waste will not be collected as part of the new recycling service but there are a number of ways to deal with your garden waste.

Home composting is a great solution. It avoids transport and processing costs, reduces CO2 emissions, and gives you free organic matter for your garden. For advice on home composting and offers on home composting bins, see:

https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/20762/Home-composting

Garden waste can be taken to your local Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) where you can dispose of it free of charge and it is used to produce compost.

If you are unable to home compost or take your garden waste to a HWRC, you can arrange a bulky uplift. For details see:
https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15259/Bulky-waste-collection

Small quantities of green waste can be placed in your non-recyclable waste bin. This will be sent to the Ecodeco MBT facility where it will be shredded, dried and composted.

24. Why is glass not collected from the kerbside under the new service?

The new recycling service has been influenced by the reprocessing infrastructure we have locally, financial costs, best practice guidance and environmental benefits.

In 2022, the Scottish Government is also introducing a new Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) on certain drinks containers, including glass. Scotland's DRS expects to see 85% of glass drinks bottles returned via the scheme rather than being collected by us at the kerbside for recycling.

Once DRS is introduced, shoppers will pay a deposit of 20p for drinks containers at point of purchase. The deposit is refunded when you return the container to a retailer/collection point. The retailers will send the 'empties' on for recycling.

For further information visit: www.depositreturn.scot

Once DRS is operational, we will only be collecting a small percentage of the glass items we currently collect, making kerbside collections for glass unsustainable and not cost-effective at this time.

25. Why will food waste recycling not be available across the area?

The Scottish Government requires local authorities to collect food waste from urban areas. It defines these areas by postcode, and in Dumfries and Galloway, the following towns are covered:

  • Dumfries
  • Annan
  • Dalbeattie
  • Gretna
  • Lockerbie
  • Stranraer

These towns represent just under 50% of the total population of the Council area. There are no plans to exceed our statutory requirements by extending this service to other areas because of the significant financial costs involved.

If you live in an area that does not receive a food waste recycling service, you could consider home composting suitable food waste including peelings and cores from fruit and vegetables, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds. For advice on home composting and offers on home composting bins, see:

https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/20762/Home-composting

To find out more about food waste and ways you can help reduce the amount of food waste you produce as well as saving money, visit; https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/reduce-food-waste

26. What are the benefits of recycling?

Recycling converts the waste materials we all produce into useful new materials and objects. Recycling conserves natural resources, saves energy, reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill or incineration, helps protect the environment and is a part of the solution to tackling our global climate emergency.

Recycling can also lead to local employment opportunities from recycling initiatives. It encourages producers to take more responsibility for their waste and can improve economic competitiveness.

Your efforts to separate your waste into the new bins will help Scotland and the region to meet its ambitious recycling targets and to promote the circular economy.

27. Why should I recycle my waste?

Everyone has a duty to manage their own waste correctly. Every year in Dumfries and Galloway we produce approximately 75,000 tonnes of waste, which works out to around 1 tonne per household. Much of this waste could be re-used or recycled.

Collecting recyclable items such as paper, card, cardboard, plastics, metals, and cartons maximises recycling opportunities, reduces wastage and is cheaper than sending mixed waste for processing.

We are encouraging residents to recycle using the new wheelie bins wherever possible. The bins we are providing have been selected to ensure that you have sufficient capacity for your recyclable materials, based on a four-weekly collection cycle.

Sorting waste materials into different bins makes a huge difference to the efficiency of any recycling system and helps create better quality end products. This needs your participation to help make it work.

28. Do I have to recycle?

Whilst we cannot force you to recycle, we hope that everyone will play their part.

Section 46(4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires householders to use the bins or containers provided by the Council for waste and recycling collections and for the householder to place the correct waste material in the correct bins.

29. What happens if I don't recycle?

We are encouraging everyone to recycle using the new wheelie bins and glass recycling points wherever possible. While you will not be penalised if you do not recycle your household waste, please remember that your grey bin for non-recyclable waste bin will only be collected every fortnight under the new service.

30. Are there alternatives to recycling?

European, UK and Scottish laws all support the principle of a waste hierarchy where waste prevention and re-use are the most preferred options, followed by recycling (including composting), then recovery (including energy recovery), while waste disposal through landfill should be the very last resort.

In most cases, recycling is better for the environment than burning waste to produce energy and certainly better than sending materials to landfill. If you can reduce the amount of waste you produce or find a re-use for an item rather than placing it in a bin, it saves all of the CO2 emissions and costs of collecting, transporting and processing.

Zero Waste Scotland's website has lots of useful ideas and advice about reducing and re-using waste:

31. Does my waste end up in landfill?

The Ecodeco Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facility on the outskirts of Dumfries will continue to receive Dumfries and Galloway's non-recyclable waste. The waste is shredded and dried by heat produced naturally by biological activity. This drying process recovers around 30% of the weight of the waste as moisture which is passed through a biofilter to atmosphere and the natural water cycle.

The dried waste is then refined into several 'fractions' via secondary shredding and other mechanical processes. The principal output of the facility is a fuel used in specialist Energy from Waste plants. The other fractions are all subject to further treatment at third party facilities. The 8-20mm fraction (glass and stone) is separated with the inert portion becoming an aggregate replacement product. The fines (less than 8mm) fraction is composted and used as a restoration material on landfills and old mines etc. Ferrous metals are recovered, cleaned by a third party, and recycled.

32. Why aren't you using electric vehicles?

We will be using two electric refuse collection vehicles on a trial basis. However, at present, the range of electric refuse collection vehicles is limited and they are not suitable for use on long runs in rural areas. We will be replacing our fleet every five years, so we can review advances in vehicle technology (particularly battery storage) and consider purchasing electric vehicles in 2025/26.

33. What is happening to all the bin wagons currently in storage?

The multi-compartment recycling vehicles purchased in 2012 are being sold off. These were all used in the Wigtown area for the box-based kerbside recycling collections but are no longer needed as this service was replaced in November 2020 with the wheelie bin-based service that will use standard Refuse Collection Vehicles.

Having a single fleet of standardised vehicles makes the service more flexible and efficient, reducing the overall number of vehicles needed to run the whole service. The new vehicles will be cheaper to service and will retain their residual value for longer. As a result, Repayments will be managed within the revenue budget for the waste service so that vehicles can be replaced every five years.

34. What is happening to all the recycling boxes in storage?

We have a large stock of recycling boxes, lids, food caddies and nets in storage. There are no rental costs because they are stored at a Council-owned site. The boxes are not required for the new service, but the food caddies will be used for the food waste collection service.

The black recycling boxes are being offered to households free of charge at our Household Waste Recycling Centres. They can be helpful for storing glass bottles and jars or other materials ready to take to a Recycling Point or Household Waste Recycling Centre but can be used for other purposes.

Any surplus items will be recycled back into the production of new waste containers.

35. I own a holiday home and run it as a business, how will this affect my domestic waste uplifts?

If you run a holiday home which you let out for profit, then you should have a Trade Waste Agreement in place to have your waste and recycling materials uplifted and disposed of through a registered waste carrier. If Dumfries and Galloway provide your commercial waste collection then your non-recyclable waste will be collected fortnightly and recyclable waste every 4 weeks, in line with the new household waste recycling service. A list of our fees and charges can be found at: https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/article/15593/Commercial-waste-collection

Page last updated: 26/04/2021
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