Orkney Islands Council is to delay its annual Christmas tree collection dates for properties within the 30mph town speed limits until February.
With significant additional household waste and recycling needing to be collected after the Christmas festivities and the local authority having to find savings in the way they provide services, they can no longer provide the resources to do the tree collection in early January.
Householders are therefore being asked, where they can, to bring their trees to the nearest civic amenity site after Christmas – or hold on to their tree until early February when resources are less stretched and a collection can take place.
Trees can also be trimmed, cut up and placed into the kerbside grey bins for the waste collection - as long as the lid can still close on the bin.
Households are also being asked to take any additional recycling, like additional glass, cans, paper and plastic to the civic amenity site at the same time to reduce the amount that needs to be collected kerbside immediately after Christmas.
Each January the Council picks up thousands of used Christmas trees from the 30mph areas of the mainland. Last year’s uplift required up to three vehicles, took five days to complete - and provided no income generation for the Council, unlike traditional recyclates.
In addition, each Christmas the additional waste generated over the festive season equates to approximately 87 tonnes more than normal, which constitutes an 11% increase. This additional tonnage in the collections after Christmas means that the collection rounds take longer and can lead to significant delays or even cancellations.
John Wrigley us the Council's Roads and Environmental Services Manager. He said: “Our waste services team finds itself under a great deal of additional pressure in the weeks immediately after Christmas - increased eating and drinking and packaging means there’s more recycling and waste to be picked up both in terms of households and commercial premises, we have public holidays and the potential for poor weather to factor in meaning that the staff availability to undertake additional services is very limited.
“We also have to consider Council budget constraints and unfortunately the Christmas tree collection service is a direct additional cost with no return for the Council.
“We know that many households with the capacity to do so will be visiting the civic amenity sites immediately after Christmas to dispose of thicker cardboard and other packaging, so we’re asking that they consider disposing of their tree then too. Otherwise, we’ll aim to collect in February when resources are less stretched.
“We’d also ask that people consider bringing their additional festive recycling direct to our civic amenity sites rather than leaving it out as unsightly side waste on the kerbside, thereby reducing additional uplift and meaning we can still complete our rounds as planned.”
The Cursiter Recycling Centre will close at 3.45pm on Monday 24 December 2018 and will not reopen until 8am on Thursday 3 January 2019.
Hatston, Bossack, St Margaret’s Hope and Garson Recycling Centres will be closed on Tuesday 25 December, Wednesday 26 December 2018, Tuesday 1 January and Wednesday 2 January 2019, but will be open as per normal hours throughout and after the festive period.