Argyll and Bute

Two weekly bin collections - FAQs

We are all living and working in exceptional times.

The Council is working tirelessly to do all we can to support our communities in dealing with the threat of COVID-19.

We introduced temporary changes we made to our waste collection services while we are delivering additional emergency planning services.

We have listened to concerns raised by our communities about these changes and have revised waste collections further for this emergency period.

I think I might have coronavirus – what should I do with my waste?

Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste.

This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.

What are the changes?

We are going to empty two bins per household on a fortnightly collection schedule. We will collect general waste and recycling waste at the same time – both bins will be emptied on the same day.

What can go in my bins?

Everything. Where possible please store any recycling waste until we can resume recycling services.

What day do I put my bins out?

You should follow your blue bin collection calendar. *If you live in Kintyre or Bute, please see the end of these FAQs for your arrangements.

What time should I put my bins out?

By 6am.

What time will your crews work until/when will I know if my bin has been missed?

In some areas we already work on bin collections until 10pm.

To manage with the revised schedules and workload caused by absences, and the increased lorry loads as we’re collecting double the amounts per run, we may work later in all areas, so assume that we are working until 10pm in your area.

Where will the waste go?

The vast majority will go to landfill.

We would ask our communities please to store as much recycling as possible at home so that we can keep landfill waste to a minimum.

Both bins will be tipped into the same bin lorry.

My bins weren’t collected on the scheduled day – what should I do?

Please do nothing. Our crews may simply be running behind on the route – we will catch up.

Our bin crews are already under huge pressure to continue to deliver this vital service for our communities. Our call centre is receiving a lot of calls from vulnerable people who need our help at this time. Please do not contact us about your bin collection unless you absolutely have to.

Please wait an additional day from your scheduled collection, our teams will be working longer than usual hours and aiming to catch up on any delayed collections the following day

After that, check our service disruptions page for a revised collection date: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/service-disruptions

Only then, if there is no further information, call: 01546 605514
For me this means there is a large gap between collections due to the changeover period – what

should I do?

Unfortunately, as we change schedules over there will inevitably be some households which face a longer than normal wait for their next collection. We can only apologise for this and ask those households to continue to store their waste at home until their next scheduled collection.

What about glass and food collections in Lomond?

Food waste collections are only in place in the Helensburgh and Lomond area. Other parts of Argyll and Bute are exempt as they do not meet the population requirement under the Scottish Government’s Rural Food Waste exemption guidance.

In Lomond there will continue to be no glass or food bin collections so you should put these items in your green or blue bins.

Where possible you should put your general waste, food and glass in your green bin and recycling in your blue bin, simply because this keeps your blue bin clean.

Will you also take bin bags/excess waste/side waste?


Please do not present waste in this way. It is unhygienic, and taking additional waste would fill up our bin lorries faster. That means we wouldn’t be able to finish the routes, so some people further on the route wouldn’t get a bin collection because we took your extra waste.

I have two green bins – can I put them out along with my blue bin?


We are emptying two bins per household. This is to be fair to everyone and to ensure that we can cover all 48,000 households across the council area.

Can I put out two blue bins, or two green bins, or a mix?

Put out whichever two bins you wish.

Are public recycling collection points still open? Can I still take my glass, cans etc. to them?

Yes, and these will be emptied by the Council at least four-weekly – more often if we can manage.

If the containers are full please take your materials home with you.

If you leave them lying around the containers, the glass could get smashed and become dangerous. This is also technically fly-tipping, which is irresponsible.

What about textile (clothes) banks?

These are closed.

What about civic amenity sites?

Argyll and Bute Council operates civic amenity sites on Mull, Islay, Tiree, Coll and Colonsay, as well as in Helensburgh. All other sites throughout Argyll and Bute are operated by Renewi.

All civic amenity sites are closed.

This is in line with the national guidance around essential travel and social distancing.

I receive an assisted uplift – will this continue?


You may see Council employees come a little in advance of the bin lorry and pull your bin out then put it back once the bin lorry leaves.

This is likely to happen if we need to use other Council employees to help ease the pressure on our bin crews. These other employees will pull the bins out, leaving the actual loading and working of the bin lifting mechanism on the lorry to the trained bin crews.

My neighbour usually pulls my bin out but they are self-isolating/ill – what should I do?

In the first instance you should see if another neighbour or family member can help.

If nobody can, call the Council on 01546 605514 and we’ll see what we can do to help.

My green bin has gone missing – what should I do?

Fill and present your blue bin as you normally would your green bin, until you receive your new green bin.

You can order a new green bin by calling 01546 605514.
We cannot guarantee if or when we will be able to deliver your new green bin.

Ultimately you are responsible for your own bin and it should be properly identified (house name, number etc.)

How does this new arrangement fit with the council’s commitment to the environment?

We are committed to doing all that we can as a local authority to help realise the national goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

Our recycling collections will restart when it is both safe and practicable to do so. We’ll continue our work on our ambitious waste strategy which focusses on finding ways to reduce and reuse waste.

This pandemic is unprecedented and we’ve had to make this temporary change to our bin collections so that we can continue to deliver this vital service to our communities in a way which is safe and sustainable.

Meantime, if you are able to store your recycling until arrangements can be made to collected it, we would be very grateful. Here are some tips for storing it safely:

Make sure you wash out plastic bottles (especially milk bottles) and trays thoroughly;

Squash plastic bottles and then put the lid back on;

Stack trays the same size inside each other to save space;

Flatten cardboard boxes and paper;

If you can, crush your cans;

Rinse and flatten Tetrapaks (juice cartons etc);

Once your bin is full, please start storing the recycling in plastic bags, or inside large

cardboard boxes, in a dry place.

*Bute and Kintyre

Current routes are designed for different vehicles and staffing levels. To make fortnightly collections possible we have to design new routes.

These are the arrangements we have in place for Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 April. These will be updated as soon as possible so please look out for information on the council website, social media or register with our Keep in the Loop service: 



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