The grant from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund will provide capital support to council projects that will increase recycling in West Lothian, delivering significant savings in carbon emissions.
It will fund the purchase of around 90,000 green bins required to allow separate paper and card collections from Summer 2022. This change is expected to reduce cross contamination by over 60 per cent, with a number of Scottish local authorities already operating separate collections.
Recycling for flats and very rural properties will also be improved, along with investment in technology to support the changes.
Executive councillor for the environment Tom Conn said: “I’m delighted that we have received this major investment from the Recycling Improvement Fund to support modernising recycling in West Lothian.
“Separating paper and card from other recycling collections will enable a lot more material to be reprocessed back into use, while the chance to extend the recycling scheme to more flats and rural properties. With the continued support of locals, the changes this funding will contribute to protecting our environment and tackling climate change by making it easier to recycle for everybody.”
Iain Gulland, chief executive, Zero Waste Scotland, which administers the fund, said: “Congratulations to West Lothian Council on successfully applying to the landmark fund.”
He added: “We were impressed with the proposal for new twin stream recycling collection, which will also help the council target interventions where they are needed, as well as improvements that will help align the council with the Recycling Code of Practice.
“I’m delighted to see a local authority showing ambition to improve the performance of its recycling collection and the service it offers to householders.”
The Recycling Improvement Fund will improve recycling facilities for flats through larger bulk bins to enable splitting of recycling, and new bins stores and infrastructure for communal recycling where required.
Kerbside recycling will be extended to very rural properties in West Lothian through a road end collection point programme, with investment in in-cab technology for the council’s bin lorries to help support the changes.
The move to Twin Stream recyclable material collection is expected to deliver efficiency savings of £727,000 and was approved by Council Executive in June 2021 as part of the Transforming Your Council (TYC) process.
West Lothian Council will have to put in place budget reduction measures of £9m over 2021/22 to meet the shortfall in government funding and provide a balanced budget, as we are legally required to do.
It is estimated that between April 2007 and March 2023 West Lothian Council will have made budget savings of over £151m due to prolonged constraints in Scottish Government funding, which is over £1,920 per household in West Lothian.
More information about the Recycling Improvement Fund is available here: https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/local-authorities/recycling-improvement-fund.