Taking leaf out of Danes’ book with waste transfer stations

WITH regards to your recent front-page article entitled ‘Fly-tipping fears as uplift costs spiral’, Scottish Borders Council is correct in saying that the service at Mansfield Road for private ‘customers’ is free. Also, in my own experience, the staff are extremely welcoming and helpful and can take all wastes – except tyres.

It’s difficult to alter antisocial behaviour overnight, and fly-tipping across Scotland and the United Kingdom is an indication of a considerable number of ‘citizens’ who differ in more than one respect from the majority.

I have been fortunate to visit Denmark on three occasions to take forward food waste collection machinery development. During one trip, I was taken to a local town where mini waste transfer stations had been set up.

The residents came in with their different wastes – and voluntarily segregate as they dump in marked sectors – garden, metal, large etc.

On each site there is a resident ‘caretaker’ – clearly part-time in retirement age – but with local knowledge and plenty banter with visitors.

One fascinating area was items brought in in good condition, including furniture and bikes – which were unwanted by the supplier but could be removed for free by anyone else.

Such an arrangement could be created at minimal cost in Hawick with sites set out to take into account local residents’ and business circumstances and concerns.

Setting up a first site and monitoring actions and reactions could gain suitable publicity from the surrounding area, and be cost-effective within a wider council waste collection service.

This system clearly works well for the Danes – so the question we should be asking our- selves is are we capable of imitating Scandinavian best practice?

Perhaps a new definition to add to what the Hawick Greens are about?

ALASTAIR CRANSTON

SNP candidate

Hawick and Denholm