Scots told to “plan ahead” in advance of reopening HWRCs

Scots are being “strongly advised” to plan ahead if they need to visit their local household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) from 1 June.

Before making a trip, householders should first check their local authority website and social media channels to confirm what recycling centres have reopened in their area, rules for operation, opening hours, availability slots and items being accepted.

As recycling centres prepare to reopen following easing of the coronavirus lockdown Zero Waste Scotland, COSLA, SEPA and Local and Scottish Government are urging members of the public to only visit their local recycling centre if waste cannot be stored safely at home and to be aware that services will be significantly different.

Specific information on services available locally across Scotland can be found on council websites. More general information on managing and storing waste can be found at

Physical distancing measures will be in place to ensure the safety of council workers and the public and, as a result, staff will be limited in the support they can provide and unable to assist in carrying items.

Not all recycling centres will reopen at this time, some will operate on reduced opening hours and many sites will only accept specific types or volumes of waste. Queuing is expected before gaining entry to sites and there may also be identity or proof of address checks.

Small businesses should also check to ensure trade waste is being accepted in their local authority area as many will only be accepting household waste.

Public health, together with the health, safety and wellbeing of our waste operators, remains our top priority

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Phase 1 of Scotland’s route map through and out of lockdown is to proceed, as set out by the First Minister today. This includes the re-opening of some Household Waste Recycling Centres, which will build on those core, critical waste services that the sector has worked tirelessly to maintain in difficult circumstances.

“I must stress that Councils will not open all recycling centres on 1 June, and those that do will be operating differently for the foreseeable future. I would therefore urge the public to check the guidelines applicable to their area, show patience and act responsibly, treating staff with respect as they undertake a challenging task.

“Public health, together with the health, safety and wellbeing of our waste operators, remains our top priority.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “We ask people to only visit recycling centres if they can’t safely store their waste at home or in their garden any longer. For those that do visit, check your local authority website or social media channels first so you know which recycling centre to go to and that they will accept the waste you have.

“Council staff have done a tremendous job in keeping the vast majority of waste and recycling collection services going during lockdown. And as some restrictions are eased, allowing recycling centres to open it is important that people are patient, as new measures to ensure the safety of everyone involved may slow down the process of visiting the centres.”

Cllr Steven Heddle, COSLA spokesperson for Economy and Environment said: “All Councils have been working hard to keep waste services going during these challenging times and the response from the Local Government workforce has been magnificent. We are now carefully re-opening recycling centres across the country from 1 June.

“The health and safety of public and staff remain paramount in this process. We are grateful to the public for their support so far, and are asking for continued patience until all services are fully restored.”

Anyone showing symptoms of coronavirus or if someone in their home is showing symptoms should stay at home. This is crucial in protecting public health.

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