Fears voiced over Falkirk bins plan

There are fears the three-week cycle for green bins could be a week too long for many residents. Picture: Emma Mitchell
There are fears the three-week cycle for green bins could be a week too long for many residents. Picture: Emma Mitchell

Residents will soon have to wait three weeks instead of two before their green bins are emptied.

At a meeting of Falkirk Council last Wednesday, members voted to trial the reduction of the collection of residual, or green bin, waste from fortnightly to three weeks in an attempt to reduce the costly amount of waste the council sends to landfill.

However, there are fears the extra week may lead to problems like increased fly-tipping and contamination of blue bins as residents struggle to cope.

Councillor Craig R Martin said he supported the preferred option of the three-week cycle, but would rethink the approach if the pilot scheme, believed to be taking place in Larbert, was not successful.

He added: “There needs to be massive changes if we are to reach the target of recycling 60 per cent of household waste by 2020. This has been moved by the SNP Government because they want zero waste for Scotland, which is a massive ambition.

“It is costing us £10,000 per day to send rubbish to landfill and this new system has the potential to reduce that by £3500 per day. It’s all about educating the public and helping them to understand how they can recycle better.

“We may be the first council to take this bold step, but we certainly won’t be the last. We will start this off as a pilot scheme before we roll it out across the area.”

Councillor Stephen Bird said the report raised more questions than it answered and called for more alternatives to be looked at and not just the three-week cycle plan.

He said: “There are lots of practical issues that are not addressed by the report. We need to have more evidence brought before us at the meeting in March before we decide on this.”

Concerns over job security of council staff were also raised, with 26 bin cycles per year possibly reducing to 17 cycles under the new strategy.

Councillor Billy Buchanan said: “I have confidence in the people of Falkirk and I think they will embrace this.”

Councillor Robert Spears said the three week cycle would mean refuse lying for longer, attracting more flies to his ward of Grangemouth, which already has a well publicised longstanding fly infestation problem.

Councillor Gerry Goldie believes Scottish Government targets were unrealistic, adding: “They are trying to convince a nation to change its eating habits in these times of poverty.”

Councillor Goldie also highlighted the need for food firms to cut down on excessive packaging, since it is a major barrier to effective recycling. He said eye-catching packages may draw shoppers’ attention to the food, but it also fills up bins, both green and blue, at the moment.