Wigtownshire close to top of recycling table

The people of Wigtownshire are in line to become the best recyclers in Scotland according to a local councillor.

Mid Galloway elected member Graham Nicol attended Wigtown Area Committee’s meeting on Wednesday and was delighted to hear that figures for the new waste collection service are above the local authority’s expectations.

Councillor Nicol said: “The quantity and the quality of the recycling in this area is excellent. The council are getting top dollar for the waste from the companies they sell it on to and if we continue at this level we will be the best in Scotland for recycling statistics and have the lowest amount of landfill.

“But one problem is the amount of waste in the wheelie bins now they are only being emptied fortnightly. People seem to have difficulty reducing the amount of residual waste they collect and as a consequence the number of council refuse sacks needed by households has increased from 17,500 in 2013/14 to 40,000 in 2014/15.”

The council have incurred a “significant increase in cost” to implement the policy dictated by the Scottish Government. Additional recycling vehicles and staff were needed to roll out the new multi-bin system, mainly due to the high participation numbers and the slow collection speed due to the manual sorting required. Food waste collection in rural areas is running at 90 per cent and at 50 per cent in urban areas. The figure for the collection of dry recyclates is 70 per cent. Despite these high participation rates, some 76 per cent of the waste collected is still residual/mixed (wheelie bin) waste which continues to place pressure on this part of the service.

From September 2014 to February 2015, council staff have lifted 550 tonnes of food waste and 730 tonnes of glass, plastic bottles, cans, cardboard and paper.

The new system was controversial but a public meeting in December to address concerns only attracted one member of the public.