Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Alternate Weekly Collections – Mainland

General Information

In an effort to increase recycling rates in the county, encourage reduced consumption and waste generation, and save on waste collection costs, Orkney Islands Council has an Alternate Weekly Collection (AWC) service across the Orkney Mainland. Under the scheme domestic refuse will be collected one week and recyclable items the next.

The material we throw away costs money to dispose of as we have to ship the waste to Shetland. By reducing or recycling these materials instead, not only do we act in a more environmentally responsible way, we also save in the costs of disposal and can also benefit from the income they may provide.

If a bin store is used, please ensure that all relevant bins are out of the bin store and presented for collection at the kerbside by 08:00 on the day of collection.

Further guidance on the Alternate Weekly Collection scheme is available to download from the 'Related Downloads' section on this page.

Road lists for the various areas can be viewed in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of the page. The lists contain the roads in each area, showing the collection area and collection day.

Maps for the East and West Mainland are also available in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page, graphically summarising the collection areas.

Please note - There are two alternate weekly collection calendars. One relates to areas 1-8 and the other relates to 9-15.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the collection and disposal of household waste and recycling in Orkney, please contact Customer Service on 01856873535 or by email.

Why was my recycling bin not emptied?

Recycling containers that include items they shouldn’t are considered 'contaminated' and are not generally emptied. If the item(s) are clearly visible to the collection crews, they will attempt to empty the bin and put back those items that are not accepted. However, if there are a lot of mixed items that shouldn’t be in the bin, your bin may have been left and ‘tagged’. The crews will attach a white tag to your bin and mark on the tag the items which are not accepted for example, cardboard or food container.

The Council does not have a facility at the waste transfer station to manually sort recyclable materials. The materials are dropped into their different bays ready for baling and onward shipment to relevant re-processors on the Scottish Mainland.

To see items that you can recycle using the kerbside collection system, please review our recyclate guide called "What to Recycle" in the related download section of this page. Don’t forget you can recycle a larger range of items at our recycling centres around the County including juice cartons, batteries, cooking oil, green waste, textiles and cardboard.  We can also provide you with free bin stickers for your recycling bins that clearly show what can go into the recycling at home and what can’t.

If you would like a set of stickers posting out to you, please contact our Waste Strategy Officer on 01856873535 extension 2343.