Recycling Update From ACC

Briefing Note: Mixing Separated Recyclable Materials at Kerbside

13 December 2015


The Waste and Recycling Team has been receiving a number of enquiries from both residents and Elected Members concerning collection crews mixing separated recyclable materials together when emptying containers during kerbside recycling collections. The concern seems to be that a number of residents are worried that the materials are not being recycled and instead sent to landfill. The purpose of this briefing is to clarify the current situation.


Over the next two years, Aberdeen City Council will be moving to a mixed recycling service (often referred to as “comingled”) where all materials will be collected in one bin together.  This service will replace the current black box and bag system during 2017 whilst we will also be rolling out communal mixed recycling containers throughout 2016 to flats, tenements and multi story properties.  You can find out more about the planned changeover to the mixed recycling service here:

Around a year ago, we began an operational trial of the new collection system to assess the effects on the collection service of collecting mixed recycling instead of sorting it at the roadside (kerbside sort). The trial doesn’t affect the householder but allows us to work out how to most efficiently collect the mixed recycling.  A press release was issued at the time which you can read here:

Until the new system is rolled out, we will continue to collect recycling in the black box and bag as before, and continue to sort it at the roadside.  However, there are occasions when operational issues mean that we may need to collect the recyclable material mixed together.  If this occurs in your area, please don’t worry as the materials will all continue to be recycled in a similar way as they would be normally.   We will only do this when we cannot provide the kerbside sort service and it is not our preferred collection method at this time.

The mixed material is sent to a processing plant where it is sorted into the different material streams and sent for recycling.  There is presently no such sorting facility in Aberdeen so this involves transport which comes at a cost.  The Council is building its own sorting facility in 2016 which will come on stream early in 2017 and this is when we plan to roll out the mixed recycling service in full across the city.

Therefore we are asking people to continue to use the current kerbside containers which means separating cans and bottles into the box and paper and cardboard into the bag until you are informed otherwise.  Thank you for your continued co-operation and for participating in our recycling collection schemes.

Further information

For further information please contact:

Scarlett Butler

Recycling Coordinator

Telephone: 01224 489 394