Council chiefs to face public grilling over new bins


A public meeting has been requested by the members of Wigtown Area Committee to allow residents to have their say on the new zero waste recycling system.

Teething problems with the new style black boxes led to the council’s new policy being discussed as a matter of urgency at the WAC meeting on Wednesday.

Council officers from DG First were on hand to update the members but the councillors praised the efforts of their staff to cope with the demands made on them to deliver the service across Wigtownshire.

But the local authority admitted it was inudated with phone calls from the public about the changes. Issues included the routes the lorrys were taking meant residual waste and dry recyclates were collected in the same week instead of alternately; the high, and unexpected, participation rate slowed the collection service to the point where drivers had to stop to avoid being outwith their hours. Residents were also confused as to what to recycled. Incorrect items placed in the black recycling boxed lead to contamination and printed leaflets have now been distributed to advise customers why some contents in the boxes have not been lifted.

Stranraer Councillor Willie Scobie said that the issues with bins collections at flats had still not being resolved and he asked that the commissioner of the recycling policy, Alistair Speedie be brought to a meeting to answer questions the public have about the new system.

“We have got to get this right,” said the councillor.

The report regarding the implementation of the Zero Waste in Wigtown area states that 70 to 80 per cent of households are participating, much higher than the 50 per cent forecast.

The implementation of the new system is the most significant change to the waste collection services in Dumfries and Galloway since the introduction of wheeled bins.

Chair of DG First Management committee, Cllr Archie Dryburgh, said: “Introducing any new scheme of this size was always going to be a challenge bringing with it a few teething problems. We are only two weeks into this new scheme and the problems that residents were experiencing initially have been largely resolved. More people have been recycling their food and dry waste than was anticipated. This is great news. Over 80% of households in Wigtownshire are recycling their waste. This high take up rate meant that it took a bit longer to collect all the waste from households in the first couple of weeks. We have addressed this now so that households are getting their boxes lifted and will continue to address any issues.”

Marion McCutcheon, Area Chair of the Wigtown Area committee, added: “As soon as the Council became aware of the teething issues with the waste recycling, additional resources were put in place to deal with these. A dedicated call handling team have answered all calls from the public.

“Additional staff have worked very hard to collect this waste from households. Waste collections are now on schedule across the area. I’d like to thank the public for their patience during this time. It is encouraging that so many people have been eager to find information about the roll out of the new service. This is reflected in the calls we have received. I hope that the participation levels continue to grow in Wigtownshire over the forthcoming weeks.”

Statistics now show that 103 tonnes of food waste has been lifted and 55 tonnes of dry recyclates.

All the waste is delivered to the new Zero Waste Park at Blackparks Industrial Estate in Stranraer.