‘Bin’ down this road before – but no more

There is a possibility Falkirk residents could soon have another bin or container to put out for collection. Picture: Michael Gillen
There is a possibility Falkirk residents could soon have another bin or container to put out for collection. Picture: Michael Gillen

The possibility of yet another refuse bin or container being forced upon Falkirk residents was just too much for one elected representative.

Labour group leader Dennis Goldie said it was common knowledge people living in the Falkirk Council area were “sick” of the sight of bins and would rather not have another one added to their doorstep.

At a meeting of Falkirk Council’s executive committee on Tuesday, members discussed proposals to create a charter compliant service for refuse uplifts in the area and this could mean another bin for households to fill and put out for collection.

Due to increased costs of processing the dry recyclate material which should be going in blue bins at the moment, it was proposed to have separate containers – one for paper and card and one for metals, plastics and cartons – to reduce the processing costs.

The annual cost of processing co-mingled waste will rise to £500,000 – an increase of £219,000 – and staffing would need to expand by ten further employees if the council continues to collect material as it does at the moment.

The refuse charter is a commitment to improve the council’s household waste and recycling services.

However, Falkirk Council is not fully compliant with the charter at this time because the service does not provide separate containers for paper/card and plastics/metals/cartons.

By having these two separate bins, Falkirk Council will become a charter compliant authority and have the ability apply for funding from Zero Waste Scotland to cover the costs of the new containers.

The very idea residents would have to have another bin or container to go along with their green bin, blue bin, brown bin, black box and grey food caddy, was met with disbelief by Councillor Goldie.

“If there is one thing residents don’t want it’s another bin,” he said. “In flatted areas we cannot get along the pavements for bins – you just can’t move for bins.

“If it requires recruiting another ten people to sort through the waste then I’m happy with that. People are sick looking at bins.”

Councillor Paul Garner put forward a motion to have a review of the proposals, to consult the community on the various options available – including the additional bin or container – and have the findings brought back to the council in August or September.

This led Councillor Goldie to put forward an amendment to continue the matter so the cost of employing ten more staff to sort through the blue bin waste could be looked into.

Councillor David Alexander responded to the amendment, stating: “The motion leaves options open, while Councillor Goldie’s amendment closes options off. The important thing is we do have a review. The approval of this motion and this report doesn’t give the council authority to put one additional blue bin on the streets.

“I think we need to keep all options open – we haven’t consulted with the general public in the past but this is an opportunity to put that right and put in place a refuse collection service that is sustainable and meets all requirements”.

Councillor Tom Coleman agreed that a public consultation was the best way forward.

He said: “We are dealing with the cost of the previous administration sitting on its hands last year. The best thing to do is go and talk to people and find out what they want.”

Councillor Goldie’s amendment fell by ten votes to two.

The introduction of the four-weekly green bin cycle last October met with criticism as scores of overflowing bins failed to be picked up and just last month the collection system was under fire again, with residents stating they were confused over what days to put certain bins out and accusing the council of not keeping them properly informed.