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Saturday 4 December 2010

A load of rubbish....

Well not specifically this post! But above is a photo of our weekly "rubbish collection" from the island.  Each household can leave black plastic sacks of rubbish at the edge of their property on a Tuesday morning before 10am.  N. on the island is employed by the local council to come round and collect the sacks and transport them to the pier and place them in the metal container being lifted in the picture above.  The container is then taken over to Stromness where the local council truck empties it into the back of the "refuse truck" and the container is then returned to the island. The rubbish is then taken by truck to a central point on the Orkney Mainland and it is either shipped to Shetland, where it is then used in a giant burning operation which fuels a heating system for part of Lerwick (great idea!) or goes into landfill (not a great idea). There are Scottish government targets on recycling which each local council has to attain, and there are also schemes set up with funding on various islands for recycling of furniture, paint, timber, and indeed anything you can think of!

Graemsay is one of the few islands in Orkney that has no recycling facility. Most of the other islands and the Orkney Mainland also get regular "recycling" collections from the local council for items such as glass, tins and plastic. However our ferry is a lift-on-lift-off type and most recycling bins are too heavy for our ferry to manage, and seemingly the council don't want to fund an alternative.

In Orkney we also have "Freegle" which is a web-based facility (think it might be worldwide but with local sections) and folk can post items they want to dispose of or are looking for and swaps can take place between individuals.  Of course there is also Radio Orkney's "Bruck" programme (bruck meaning rubbish in Orcadian) and information is exchanged on items wanted to available to swap or pass on.

Stromness and Kirkwall also has what is referred to as "the tip" where folk can take unwanted items but because of health and safety and other rules only deposits can be made, no one is able to take stuff *out* so it ends up in landfill, .  However Stromness is soon to have a recycling centre operating, which has been set up by Orkney Zero Waste, a local charity that I'm involved with. In a time of recession I think folk will be turning more and more to "recycling" or "upcycling" (which is taking something and making something new out of it).

Meanwhile the only recycling I do is of food - giving scraps and left-overs to the hens who "upcycle" it into lovely fresh eggs!


  1. Blue bird is here again.
    Dear Sian: To write an article like this on a Saturday is an accomplishment to be praised and admired.
    Your order in the presentation of various data gives me relaxation and enjoyment. Thank you. Julia/Blue bird :)

  2. Louise from Seattle5 December 2010 at 22:58

    Who knew that garbage could be so interesting??? Thanks for enlightenment about a serious subject. I was especially surprised that some goes up to Shetland. I'm trying to think of a funny comment about that, but just can't...

  3. On our patch we have "freecycle". Similar idea about swopping stuff ..... or giving it away.

  4. Julia - thank you! I enjoy writing and wish I had more time for the more creative kind!

    Louise - Yes it is odd to think of our rubbish being shipped to Shetland!

    Walrus21 - freecycle/freegle is excellent! I got my first breadmaker via that route. It's very popular in Orkney.