Falkirk Council: Options being considered for black box recycling after DRS was further delayed
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The flagship recycling scheme was supposed to start this year but the Scottish Government announced this week that it will be delayed until October 2025 at the earliest. Circular economy minister Lorna Slater told the Scottish Parliament that they had no choice but to delay its introduction after the UK government excluded glass from the Scottish scheme.
Falkirk Council had intended to stop its black box collections from September this year but was forced to extend the service as the national scheme became the focus of bitter arguments.
Members of all parties agreed in May that they wanted more clarity and improved communication so they could give better information to their constituents. They also agreed to a Conservative amendment asking officers to bring back a report on the delivery of the black box kerbside collection if there is a further delay to DRS, or any changes which sees the removal of glass from this scheme.
Conservative group’s environment spokesperson, Councillor James Bundy, said: “Thanks to an amendment put forward by the Falkirk Conservatives last month, glass recycling rates in Falkirk will be maintained despite the SNP/Green Government’s failure to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme on time.
“With their botched Deposit Return Scheme, the SNP/Greens failed to properly engage with businesses across Scotland, cost Scottish industry millions of pounds, and left Scottish Councils in the unknown. Despite SNP spin, this is a delay caused by their own failure to deliver.”
Mr Bundy added: “After one delay, and further delays expected, the Falkirk Conservatives thought it would be unacceptable to create further uncertainty by removing the provision of black box kerbside collection. With this further delay announced, the Falkirk Conservatives are pleased that we managed to secure the support of the council for our amendment as it means the people of Falkirk will continue to have a way to recycle glass and household goods.”
But the SNP group on Falkirk Council accused the Conservatives nationally of “careless torpedoing” the recycling scheme.
Councillor Bryan Deakin, the SNP administration’s climate change portfolio holder, said: “The behaviour of the UK government is utterly shameful, and completely disregards and disrespects the decisions made by Scotland’s democratically elected officials, including their own Tory colleagues, in the Scottish Parliament.
“Their careless torpedoing of Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme will have far reaching and devastating consequences for businesses, for communities, for individual households and, ultimately, the credibility and stability of devolution across all nations that currently make up the UK. Scotland’s DRS was designed to reduce harmful emissions that are contributing to the climate emergency through reducing the amount of plastic, aluminium and glass that goes to landfill or incineration, with an anticipated 90 per cent capture rate.
“We all recognise that recycling is a much more sustainable and efficient way in manging these resources and Scotland’s DRS would have reduced emissions by around four million tonnes of CO2eq (carbon dioxide equivalent) over 25 years.
“Preparations are already underway at Falkirk Council for what was the anticipated implementation of DRS, following decisions in December and, more recently, May’s executive meeting. However, the impact of this further intransigence from the UK government will undoubtedly impact on our activities going forward, the full extent of which is currently being considered by Falkirk Council officers.”
Labour councillor Euan Stainbank said the SNP, Greens and the Conservatives had to shoulder some of the blame for the “squabbling” that has delayed the scheme.
He said: “Yet again we are seeing the consequences of an SNP/Green Scottish Government and a Tory UK Government utterly incapable of co-ordinating, working together or delivering an environmental improvement or climate change mitigation project at the required urgent scale. The substantial preparatory work our council has done in this area is now back to square one because the SNP, Greens and Tories have been squabbling amongst themselves rather than communicating their plans coherently to people and businesses.”