Recycling collections set to change

Recycling collections set to change
27 October 2020

Fortnightly recycling collections will begin again in November – with two types of recyclable materials picked up from the kerbside every two weeks.

The current system – with one type of material collected weekly for recycling – will come to an end on Friday November 6.

From Monday 9 November, Orkney Islands Council will reintroduce an alternate weekly collection – grey bin waste picked up one week, recyclables in green bins and boxes the next.

Fortnightly collections will be carried out across Orkney Mainland, Burray and South Ronaldsay from that date.

Once the new arrangements come into effect:

  • The first collection will be for plastic bottles and glass bottles and jars.
  • Two weeks later metals such as tins, cans and kitchen foil will be picked up from the kerbside, along with paper and light card.
  • You should put out your green bins and boxes on your usual collection day.
  • If it’s a grey bin week, don’t put out recycling as well.
  • Your recycling will be collected the following week.
  • This pattern will be repeated every fortnight – grey bins one week, green bins and boxes a week later.

Andrew Drever, OIC’s vice-chair of Development and Infrastructure, said: “It will mean householders can still recycle four types of materials over a four-week period. The difference is that we’ll be asking folk to do this in fortnightly installments rather than weekly as at present.

“We’ll be providing many reminders about this over the weeks ahead – and we’ve come up with a good way to remember what goes out and when. For glass and plastic, try ‘glastic’ for short – and how about ‘petals’ for paper and metals?”

  • If you use a green box, put one type of material in the box and another in one of the ‘hessian’ bags it was originally supplied with.
  • Householders can request additional green bins and have them delivered free of charge.
  • You can also request an additional green box or bag – but only if you already use these for your recycling and RED BAGS for your waste.
  • You can do this online at or by phoning OIC customer services on 01856873535.

Councillor Drever added: “So what lies behind the change? Collecting two materials every fortnight is considerably less labour intensive than a one-material collection every week.

“This means we will have more resources available for a wider range of waste and recycling services. That will allow us to look at how we can re-open the Household Recycling Centres at St Margaret’s Hope, Cursiter and Bossack which are currently closed.”

Since kerbside collections started again in May, more vehicles have been needed to pick up recycling because physical distancing has reduced the number of operatives who can travel in the cab.

Refuse trucks have been needed to bolster the fleet of recycling wagons – but these could pick up only one type of material at a time.

The Council has now purchased an additional recycling wagon called a Twin Pack, which has separate compartments for two types of recyclables.

“Picking up two materials at the same time means we can return to fortnightly recycling collections,” said Lorna Richardson, policy manager with the Council's waste team.

“This will half the number of recycling runs we are currently undertaking under Covid-19 restrictions. It will significantly reduce the additional cost involved and also have the benefit of freeing up staff as we look at ways to expand the range of services we can provide at present.”


  • If your usual grey bin day is during week beginning Monday 9 November – there is no recycling collection.
  • If it’s not a grey bin week – put out your recycling on your usual collection day.
  • The first recycling collection will be for glass and plastic – ‘glastic’.
  • The next recycling collection with be for paper, light card and metals such as cans and tins - ‘petals’.

If you’re not sure of when your waste and recycling collections take place – online calendars are available from the Related Downloads section here:

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS