Garden rubbish collections are set to be scrapped throughout the Borders early next year.
From the end of March, Scottish Borders Council will no longer collect green bin waste and Hawick householders will be left with two options: compost their garden waste or drop it off at their local recycling plant.
And according to Hawick Councillor and environmental portfolio holder Davie Paterson his department has been left with no option in an effort to make savings of more than £800,000 in the environmental services budget.
The Hawick and Hermitage member said: “This will enable us to make savings of £450,000 a year. It won’t be popular with householders and it has been a really difficult decision. However, unless someone can come up with a better idea this will be approved by councillors on December 12.
“I realise that this is a going to be a bit of a bombshell. It is not compulsory for the council to collect garden rubbish but new legislation on waste food collections starting in January has placed us in this position.”
Asked if he was concerned about more fly-tipping, Mr Paterson added: “The council spends about £50,000 a year tidying up after illegal fly-tippers. We have discussed the possibility of a surge in this problem but hopefully people will act responsibly.”
The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012, enforced from January, make it statutory for councils to start separate collections for food waste. Every household in the region will receive information about the new food waste collection initiative and householders who wish to hang on to their green bins may do so. If they wish to have them uplifted the council will collect them. Free composters will be available from the local authority.
It is understood that SBC recycling centres will extend their opening hours during the summer to cope with the increased demand from gardeners.
A report recommending the move will be presented to councillors next Thursday (December 12). This follows a press briefing scheduled for yesterday (Thursday).