Household waste update

Household waste update
08 May 2020

Thank you message for the bin menWe would firstly like to thank the Orkney public for their understanding and co-operation with the changes in how waste collections and Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) operate as a result of COVID-19, and for all the drawings and comments in support of Orkney’s refuse collection Thank you messages for the bin menteams. Your thanks and support are truly appreciated, as they keep this essential service running every day. We have created an online guide advising the public on how these changes may affect them, and some FAQs to help people understand how we are keeping essential services operating. You can find these here:

Helpful hints and tips to manage your waste/ recycling . . .

  • Please fill recycling bins with the correct materials until they are full e.g. glass, plastics, metals, paper and card, and where you have room, please store these until the service can be resumed. If you have the room, and can store in other containers once these are full, we would encourage you to do that.
  • If you’re putting boxes into your grey bin, then make sure you flatten these, or if you can store cardboard boxes flattened in a shed or garage, then again, we would encourage you to do so.
  • Rinse and squash plastics, tins and cans to maximise space in your recycling bins, or if these are now full and you’re putting these in with your normal waste, then still squash your milk bottles, tins and cans to make room.
  • While we encourage you to squash things to make room, please don’t compact materials into your bin so tightly, that it makes it hard to get it emptied correctly. 
  • If possible, store dry materials safely for as long as you are able and until recycling collections resume, so you have room in your grey bin for the stuff that really needs disposing of regularly.
  • Don’t forget to keep washing those bin handles when you put your bin out! Our teams are out there every day, emptying hundreds of bins on each and every route, touching gates and other surfaces. They wear gloves, and have access to hand sanitiser, but they don’t have the opportunity to keep washing their hands throughout the day.  Please keep your bin clean to help protect our crews.

Thank you messages for the bin men

Household Waste Recycling Centres

A reminder that these remain closed for now.  They will be closed until further notice in line with national guidance as they are not part of the “essential travel” list. We understand that the public would like to see these open as soon as the government relaxes restrictions, therefore we have begun planning to accommodate this as soon as they do. In addition, this helps protect our staff who can focus on collecting household waste at the kerbside, ensuring routes are completed each day.


We are appealing to the public, not to leave waste outside the household waste recycling centres or anywhere else.  Flytipping is illegal, and you could be fined up to £200. Dealing with fly-tipping will take resources away from essential front line services. Report fly-tipped waste to Dumb Dumpers ( or call the Stopline on 0845 230 4090 if you witness fly-tipping. We wish to thank people for keeping their side waste to a minimum, as too much really causes issues for our bin men.

Drawing for the bin menAdvice for managing garden waste . . .

  • Compost: Why not create your own compost? Compost is a great way to improve soil quality and fertility, saving you money as well as helping the environment. You can either make your own compost heap or bin with pallets, or pile up grass cuttings and other garden waste in a heap or pit. Also available are compost bins from: These work well in Orkney, and can take your food waste too.
  • Mulch: if you’re wanting to reduce weed growth and make your flower beds more fertile, you can place grass cuttings and other such waste straight on the beds to keep moisture locked in. Or, if you cut your grass every five days, just leave the clippings on top of your lawn — no need for that big collector box, or a back-breaking rake! It is great for your lawn, it saves you time and it also saves storing it in bags/containers — as well as room in your grey bin.
  • No Mow May: Instead of cutting your lawn more frequently, why not have a go at this challenge? Letting the flowers bloom on your lawn helps to provide a vital source of nectar for bees and other insects. The National Trust is asking you to take on a special challenge to support Plantlife’s “No Mow May” project. More information can be found here:  


School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS