Reykjavík Bins Overflow Skip to content

Reykjavík Bins Overflow

By Erik Pomrenke

recycling in iceland
Photo: Golli.

The implementation of a new recycling system in Reykjavík seems to be going through some hiccoughs, with some bins throughout the city overflowing.

The city recently encouraged residents to use neighbourhood recycling centres more extensively due to changes in waste management procedures. Service providers state that improvements are being worked on.

New regulations on waste sorting came into effect at the turn of the year, and now all waste must be sorted into separate categories: paper, plastic, organic waste, and non-recyclable waste. However, the changes seem to have led to have to some oversights, with some neighbourhood bins overflowing.

As one commentator noticed: “People are being told to recycle and use neighbourhood recycling bins, but unfortunately, it seems that the infrastructure is lacking to handle what is deposited.”

A statement on the Reykjavík city website currently reads: “[Waste management contractor] Terra has decided to discontinue the service of recycling stations in Reykjavik earlier than planned. Residents who have used these stations are advised to utilize nearby Sorpa recycling centres until the bins are replaced due to coordinated waste management in Reykjavik. Recycling bins cannot be emptied outside the scheduled timeframe.”

A temporary transition is expected to continue for a few days. Valgeir M. Baldursson, the director of Terra, stated to RÚV: “As is often the case with changes, there’s a transition period. But we’re almost done distributing the new bins and the new system is almost in place.”

Residents have been advised to use neighbourhood bins until the replacement of residential bins is completed, which is expected to be in September. Due to this, a significantly larger amount of waste has accumulated at the city’s recycling centres, and the emptying of bins has slowed down.

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