Council chief answers bin criticisms

editorial image

I would like to address the points raised by Kevin Mitchell in his letter to the editor on Friday, January 30, concerning Scottish Borders Council’s waste services.

The aim of the council’s agreed approach to waste management is to provide a service that is fit for purpose and financially sustainable in the long term.

We are committed to improving our network of community recycling centres, with £306,000 to be spent on upgrading Hawick Community Recycling Centre, subject to council approval yesterday (Thursday).

Design work has already started for the new Hawick CRC with meetings held with regulators and councillors to outline the plans. The new design includes a new one-way system with designated parking areas for offloading waste. This means there will be less need for vehicles to reverse and pedestrians are, where possible, kept away from moving vehicles.

The draft designs will also allow for skips to be emptied without the need to shut the site which had been raised as an issue by members of the public.

During periods of peak demand, Hawick CRC has an additional area for garden waste. We have previously opened this area, and will do so again if needed during the growing season.

The council has a statutory duty under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 to provide food waste collections in Hawick, Selkirk, Peebles, Jedburgh, Galashiels and Tweedbank. The Council has no choice over whether it does or does not provide this service.

The food waste service will be provided on a weekly basis from September 2015 in Hawick. Further information will be made available nearer the time.

We do not have a mandatory duty to provide a separate collection for garden waste. This is highlighted by the fact that five out of the nine local authorities in Scotland classified by Audit Scotland as rural do not provide a kerbside collection of garden waste.

Garden waste can be: Composted at home; recycled at a community recycling centre; or as a last resort, placed in the household general waste bin.

The council’s kerbside garden waste service was only provided in urban areas, which represented around 33,000 households out of a total of around 57,000. The council’s decision to remove the service not only removed a disparity of service provision, it also generated savings of £450,000 per annum which contributed towards the council’s £28.7million savings target over five years.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 require the council to provide a collection service for glass in addition to other dry recyclables (ie paper, car, plastic and metal).

The council has taken the decision, as outlined in our agreed approach to waste management, to use its network of over 70 bottle bank sites to carry out this duty. This represents the best option as the council already has a contract in place with Viridor to service the
sites.

The council is working with Viridor to expand the network of bottle bank sites to make it easier for householders to recycle their
glass.

At the current time, the Council’s blue-lidded recycling collection must not be used for glass recycling as it is not within our contractor agreement and will be treated as contamination.

Jenni Craig

Services director,
neighbourhood services,

Scottish Borders Council