Dumfries and Galloway council are hoping to salvage over £500,000 of taxpayers money by revamping the controversial multi-bin collection system, but will still fall short of original cost targets.
At today’s meeting in Dumfries of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee, elected members will be asked to agree to extend the new trial collection method, introduced in the Newton Stewart area at the end of March, across the rest of Wigtownshire. But the report states that health and safety issues for staff must also be addressed.
After going £300.000 over budget by implementing the multi-bin system, the trial saw a reduction in the man power and vehicles needed by incorporating the uplift of waste including food waste collection in the same vehicle as the dry recyclates. The trial method showing that if rolled out across Wigtownshire a saving of £599,000 could be archived and household would gain the advantage of a weekly collection. The three boxes were divided into paper and cardboard; plastic bottle, cans and cartons and colour mixed glass.
At the same time, Zero Waste Scotland, who monitor recycling in Scotland, advised the council to undertake a ‘control’ trial in tandem with the original trial to establish whether switching sorting methods alone was sufficient to make the savings.
The control trial saw household recycling lifted fortnightly, apart from food waste which was lifted weekly. The control trial indicated savings of £545,000.
The time staff took to sort the waste on the kerbside was greatly reduced by the new system from two and a half minutes per household to 30 seconds.
However, neither trial can reduce costs to fit in with the costs modelled for the local authority at the start of the new waste collection system in 2012. The remaining overspend comes form the residual (wheelie bin) collection.
Customer demand for wheelie bins collection has meant the council cannot yet cut back to two vehicles as anticipated.