Changes to bin collections from 22nd June - FAQs

Return to three-weekly general waste collection and two-weekly recycling - 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 were delivering additional emergency planning services.

We are now in the first steps of returning to delivering a three-weekly general waste collection and two-weekly recycling collection.

Decisions on how to re-introducing these collections were informed by the views of our customers who were keen to see as early a return to collecting recycling as possible, with as little disruption to uplifts as possible.

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 back to three-weekly general waste collections and two-weekly recycling collections (blue bins/bags) across Argyll and Bute, phasing this in over the next two weeks (see below).

In Lomond only we are restarting monthly glass collections from 6th July.

What day do I put my bins out?

If you live in Dunoon and Cowal, Mid Argyll, Tarbert, Oban and Lorn, Coll, Colonsay, Tiree, Lismore and Helensburgh and Lomond, your normal schedule for general waste and blue bins will restart during the week beginning 22 June. You will be able to check what date your bins go out, on the website:, from 19 June.

If you live in Kintyre (south of Kennacraig), Islay/Jura, Gigha and Mull/Iona, your normal schedule will resume during the week beginning 29 June. You will be able to check what date your bins go out, on the website:, from 26 June.

If you live on Bute you go back to three-weekly bin collections during the week beginning 29 June. However, Bute households were given a new two weekly timetable for waste during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please keep that new cycle for your recycling, as service providers have changed (the council is now providing this service directly rather than through the previous provider Fyne Futures), and revert to the previous three-weekly timetable for your domestic waste. You can look up your updated calendars here: from 26 June.

My blue bin is full of domestic waste – what do I do with it?

If you are unable to put your domestic waste in your green bin, or take it to the local civic amenity site, then you should put your blue bin which is full of domestic waste out with your green bin on your next scheduled green bin collection day.

These will be taken together on the first cycle only.

My first collection is a double collection – green and blue bins on the same day. What should I do?

In the first cycle we will collect these bins together in the same lorry and the items will all go to landfill. So you should only put your blue bin out on your double collection day if it is full of domestic waste.

If your blue bin is full of recycling and you want the items to be recycled you should hold this back to your next scheduled blue bin day.

I have to wait four weeks for a general uplift what should I do?

If your collections have been disrupted by the recent move back to the normal bin collection schedule and you need to wait longer for your green bin to be emptied you can still use your blue bin for general waste and present it with your green bin on your next green bin collection date.
This means you can continue to place general waste in your blue bin until your next scheduled green bin collection, so although you may have to wait slightly longer you will have double the normal general waste capacity.
The bins will be taken together on the first cycle only and therefore after this collection you should return to your normal collection arrangements and use your blue bin for recycling.

Communal bin areas

If your bins are in a communal bin area and are presented on a green bin day these will all be treated as general waste for the first cycle.

My blue bin is dirty from having domestic waste in it – what should I do?

You should wash your blue bin out before you start to use it for recycling.

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 potentially increased lorry loads, we may work later in all areas, so assume that we are working until 10pm in your area.

Where will the waste go?

General waste mostly goes to landfill.

Recycling will be transferred to appropriate recycling companies for onward re-processing into new items or products.

I have been storing recycling for months. It won’t all fit in my bin. What should I do?

We will take additional recycling which you have stored at home. Please present this in a cardboard box or similar container (so that it is visible to the crews) at the kerbside alongside your blue bin.

We will not be able to take additional recycling if it is presented in black bags because we will not be able to see what is in the bag. We have to ensure that it contains recycling so as not to contaminate the rest of the lorry load.

You can also take any additional recycling, and additional general waste, to your local civic amenity site. Details on these are available at

What about glass kerbside collections?

Kerbside glass recycling will resume to the normal schedule in Helensburgh and Lomond during the week beginning 6 July.

Kerbside glass recycling on Tiree, Mull and Iona will resume at a future date – we currently don’t have the staffing resources on these islands to restart this service.

What about food collections in Lomond?

We only provide food waste collections 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 food bin collections for the time being so you should bag these items and put them in your green bin.

We currently don’t have the staffing resources to restart this service. We will restart food waste collections in Helensburgh and Lomond when we can.

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:
  • Only then, if there is no further information, call: 01546 605514

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

Yes, and these will be emptied 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 at public recycling collection points?

These are open and being serviced as normal (they are serviced by external contractors)

What about civic amenity sites?

Our civic amenity sites are all open and accepting all waste streams.

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?

You can order a new green bin by calling 01546 605514

Given our current lack of staffing resources, we cannot guarantee 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.)

Why not use other Council staff to continue all normal collections?

We’re already using staff from our roads and grounds squads to support our waste teams to collect bins to a three weekly frequency, and we’ll continue to do this and use other staff as required. However, there are other services that we must continue to deliver at this time.

Thank you for your co-operation while we all work together to protect each other from COVID-19.