ISC Vice-chair Alan S. Buchan

Arlene Dickson was left with this unsightly mess outside her home recently after the bin lorry had been.
Arlene Dickson was left with this unsightly mess outside her home recently after the bin lorry had been.

Aberdeenshire Council have assured residents in the Mearns that new bin lorries will reduce the problem of loose refuse being left behind.

Arlene Dickson, who lives just south of Laurencekirk, contacted the Leader and Observer after rubbish was left strewn in the road last week once the bin lorry had been round.

She said: “This is a regular occurrence, and usually I will go out and pick up the rubbish that has been left behind.

“But this time I just refused. There were dog poo bags which had burst, and a big piece of plastic in the middle of the road. It is a health hazard.”

Arlene contacted Aberdeenshire Council’s Wasteline to complain, and the mess was cleared up.

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council explained that the problem had been caused by an older lorry dropping waste when the bin was emptied, adding that, as they are automated, there was not always a loader to see witness that.

He added: “We are replacing these lorries as part of the new service roll out. By the end of March, five new lorries will be in use in the south of Aberdeenshire, with all the lorries being replaced by October/November.

“The new lorries will require the loaders to get out and empty the bins so this problem should not arise - they will see if any refuse is dropped.

“Anyone who has similar issues should report it to the Wasteline on 0845 600 3 900 and it will be dealt with.”

The new vehicles enable the introduction of a food waste collection service and the ability to recycle an increased amount of materials at the kerbside.

The rollout stared in north Aberdeenshire, in and around the Banff, Portsoy, Aberchirder and Turriff areas, last November.

The council has bought 46 of the 26-tonne vehicles at £152,000 each, which have Mercedes chassis and bodies made by Heil in Dunfermline, to accommodate the new collections. They meet Euro 5 emission standards, making them cleaner and more efficient than the previous fleet, which needed to be replaced anyway.

They have a capacity of around 8.5 tonnes, meaning they can collect waste and recycling from about 500 homes before emptying the load.

At the front of each vehicle, just behind the cab, is a fully sealed food compartment to prevent drips or spillages with a capacity of around 1.5 tonnes.

The council’s landfill costs, including landfill tax, will also be much less because Aberdeenshire should be recycling more.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), Peter Argyle, said: “This new fleet enables the council to move away from recycling boxes and collect mixed recyclables all in one bin, as well as collecting food waste at the same time, an improved service for Aberdeenshire.

“This is more convenient for many householders, provides a multi material recycling service to rural residents for the first time and and also allows all Aberdeenshire residents to recycle a wider range of plastic materials.”