Tackling plastic pollution will be top of the list of topics taken to the public this Recycling Week by the Council’s waste team.
The week, which runs from 24 – 30 September this year, is coordinated by Zero Waste Scotland and is aimed at boosting recycling rates, through raising awareness of the benefits and promoting easy ways to do more.
This year’s focus is on plastic bottles. These can be widely recycled across Scotland, but still almost 30,000 tonnes of plastic bottles end up in general waste stream from households.
The Council’s waste team will be carrying out a number of activities including a drop-in at Tesco on Monday (24 September), visits to local schools, as well as sharing recycling information and tips on its Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The team will be also be encouraging local people to take part in the Scottish Government’s national consultation on a ‘deposit return scheme’ on disposable drinks containers for Scotland.
OIC’s Project Coordination Manager for Waste, Jayne Venables, says small improvements in Orkney’s recycling rates could make a huge difference: “For every 1% extra of material that is recycled, the Council can save up to £12,500 on waste disposal costs.
“Here in Orkney we send 128 tonnes per year of plastic bottles to Shetlands energy waste plant for incineration.
“We’re obviously keen to help improve recycling rates in as many ways as possible, so we’re looking forward to getting out and about speaking to schools and the community about recycling, but also assisting Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government speaking to folk about how a deposit return scheme might work in Scotland.”
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Recycle Week is the ideal opportunity to do more to make sure we’re recycling as much as we can. We all use plastic bottles in our daily routines – from shampoo and shower gel, to cleaning products – which can all be widely recycled, and it doesn’t take long to do.
“The issue of single use plastics has been well-documented during the last year, and we want to make sure Scots are aware that we need to take action on plastic now. We have seen recycling rates improve across the country but we’re still seeing too many plastic bottles end up in landfill unnecessarily.”
You can also follow activity and share messages throughout the week on the Eco Active Orkney and/or OIC Updates Facebook pages or using #RecycleWeekScot on Twitter.
Under a deposit return scheme, customers pay a small deposit when they buy drinks in, for example, a bottle or a can, and then get the deposit back when they return the empty container for recycling. A public consultation on a deposit return scheme for Scotland was officially opened by the Scottish Government on 27 June 2018, and will remain open until 25 September.