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Glasgow City Council

Resource and Recycling Summit 2022 - FAQ's

Tenants, especially students are not told by landlords where to put waste or what must be recycled and why. What will you do to rectify that?

There is a large transient population in Glasgow, and it is acknowledged further engagement is required with residents who live in the city for a short period. 

Factors and landlords have a role to play in communicating with their tenants and there is an action within the Resource and Recycling Strategy to 'support the enforcement of new Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing conditions to promote recycling and improve bin provision'.

Targeted communications to some demographics are required and the Council's Neighbourhood Liaison Officers have had meetings with Glasgow University to discuss engagement with students.

Bulk Uplift Service - we have several elderly, physically disabled and tenants not in a position to pay for uplifts/don't have cars to take items to recycling centre. Example 80-year-old tenant had bulk she was willing to pay to be uplifted but lives two floors up and unable to place items in backcourt for uplift. I contacted GCC and was advised items would not be collected from property only from backcourt. This meant she had to pay for a contractor to move to backcourt to then pay again for uplift.  Will there be any services to help such residents?   

Council staff will not enter resident's properties to collect items for a bulk collection.  Residents will have to make arrangement to move material from their property to the designated collection point.  Further information on the bulk collection service is available on the Council website.  

The National Re-use Tool, via Link to: Zero Waste Scotland's website, brings together re-use organisations who will collect re-useable bulk items from within resident's homes.  

We have a communal garden with many compost bins. Our current brick-built bin sheds which are used by approx 130 flats, are due for update/rebuild. What can we do as a community to ensure we rebuild for the next 20 years, ensuring we don't build in obsolescence? Someone to discuss this with our committee would be helpful in the next few months.

Council officers will be happy to engage with housing associations and other stakeholders on future policy and legislation that will impact what materials will require collection in the future.

As far as I'm aware recycling is outsourced to a contractor. As there is no legal requirements for business to business recycling, how will GCC ensure that the recycling has been recycled & not shipped to other countries to be burned etc

The Council collects all waste from residents and utilises a mix of in-house facilities and reputable external suppliers to treat, process and recycle the different material streams.

There are reporting requirements and Duty of Care obligations on local authorities to ascertain final destinations of waste and recycling managed by the Council.

How can recycling be improved for areas with flats? Example - in my close we have 14 houses - the bins we have; 6 large steel bins for general waste, 8 blue bins, no glass, garden or food waste.

The collection of glass has not been provided to flats and tenements and a network of public recycling points have been located across the city, primarily in areas of high-density housing, to allow residents in these property types to recycle glass bottles and jars.

Most flatted properties do not have a garden and a requirement for this service, although this is now available on a request basis. You can find more information on our website

A food waste collection service was provided to all flats in 2016.  Unfortunately, due to lack of participation and persistent problems with contamination, some food waste bins were removed from tenement backcourts.  Larger bins were provided at locations near to the front of properties to allow residents to participate in the service.

The Resource and Recycling Strategy commits to providing a parity of services between all property types and GCC will be engaging with Zero Waste Scotland to determine how to provide similar services that are already received by residents in houses, with a view to collecting more recycling material and targeting high quality material.    

Will communication be sent out to households to remind what can go in certain bins? At the moment people in my close are continuing to put plastic bags into blue recycling bins which means are contaminated. They get emptied so I'm assuming that means it does not get recycled?

Information is available on the Council website on the target materials for each bin. 

Targeted communication can be undertaken where specific issues are identified, including writing to residents within affected properties.   

A bag splitter at the Council's Material Reclamation Facility (where contents of blue bins go for separation prior to being sent to re-processing partners) enables recycling to still be undertaken although residents are still advised to place items loose into the blue bin.

Can public recycling bins be introduced more widely; where can end of use textiles be recycled now; can plastic film be recycled now?

All properties should have access to recycling services at their property (unless there has been persistent contamination).  In addition, there are c. 706 public recycling points across the city, predominantly in areas of high-density housing.

Furthermore, a network of textile recycling points (c.227 across the city) is also available.  These are provided and serviced by various charity organisations, operating in partnership with the Council.  A map of all public recycling points is available on the Council website

Facilities for the collection of plastic film are available at many of the supermarkets, including Tesco, Sainsbury's, and the Co-op.  The Council will collect plastic film as services are aligned to the Code of Practice, which supports the Charter for Household Recycling.  This will be introduced next financial year for kerbside properties and the year after for flatted properties.

How can densely packed areas retain their communal garden space without overloading it with bins? Conversation needs to be had with licensing of HMO properties.

An options appraisal for flatted properties will assess different options to align flatted properties with the Code of Practice supporting the Charter for Household Recycling.   This will review options for placing bins in different locations to protect communal garden spaces.

Is there scope for recycling bins to be placed on the streets and in parks, like the city centre?

Please note response above

I am worried that you have these plans but the fundamentals aren't right. Partners (housing associations) are spending time and money to assist in bulk uplift and fly tipping but are facing massive barriers at the waste facilities. I appreciate that improvements are vital but the partners you are expecting to carry on the work with you are already facing costly blocks in service.

An on-line booking service was introduced in 2022 for all commercial traders, charities and housing associations utilising the Council's transfer stations to dispose of waste.  Further information is available on the Council website

Introducing this system will enable a better customer experience for all users and reduce the occurrence of queuing at the sites.

Is there scope for our promotional and engagement team to liaise with media and produce a far-reaching advertising campaign on good bin practice and the need for recycling effectively ... Can we advise residents that frontline operational staff are dealing with contaminated waste that could be avoided?

Yes.  Campaigns have previously been undertaken, most recently 'Stop Talking Rubbish' earlier in 2022.  A comprehensive education and awareness campaign will be undertaken when changes are made to domestic recycling services in 2023 and the Council will maintain an on-going level of communication with residents on waste and recycling issues.

Why do schools not have food recycling bins to help to promote all forms of recycling in schools to help educate people of all ages?

Food waste recycling is available in schools and utilised by Catering and Facilities Management who prepare the meals within kitchens and prep areas.  The provision of a food waste collection service within the canteens and 'fuel zones' is also available to Education Services.

Will the forthcoming review for tenements consider underground storage on street so that existing untidy bins are retired. Underground storage should reduce number of collections.

This storage solution can be explored via the options appraisal work for flatted properties, however, many areas within Glasgow may not be suitable for this due to existing underground infrastructure.   

Are there any aspirations to use the recycling facilities to generate energy and heat?...particularly important when we dealing with spiralling energy costs

The Council's residual waste treatment facility - the Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) - has potential for heat off-take to support district heating. The supply of heat to such a system is contingent on the availability of a nearby heat network.

It's great to see the plans to reduce more and more materials to landfill but will that not also mean that it will be the most harmful materials that will still go to landfill?

Various contracts are used to manage, treat, recycle, and process waste to reduce the amount of material disposed at landfill.

The landfill of biodegradable waste will not be permitted from 1 January 2025; however, it is acknowledged that landfill still has a place within an integrated waste management system - for example the disposal of hazardous material (e.g. process residues from Energy from Waste/thermal treatment processes) within a specialised landfill site, or disposal of inert material which cannot be recycled.

Commercial properties also have their bins in backcourts taking up more of the space. This was a recent change to improve look of the streets so will this be changed to bins being on the street again?

The storage and location of all bin types need to be considered with cognisance taken on risk assessment for collection, impact on amenity, space, access for residents, pest control, and aesthetics of any bins/housing units.

With the reduction in items going to landfill are there plans to close any landfill sites in Glasgow?

There is only one operational landfill site, which is currently accepting waste, within the Glasgow City Council boundary.  This is a private sector facility, regulated via the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Is there a plan to refurbish old bin stores, where the plastic bins don't fit properly? This results in people putting bin bags next to bins because they can't open the lid. Thank you! 

Refurbishment of any bin stores is the responsibility of the respective Housing Association / landlords / owners.

We work in an area where there are 80+ languages spoken and people who are not able to read and write in any language. What is the plan to reach every resident?

Education and awareness material on recycling for other languages has previously been produced and is still available on the Council website.  Additional material will be produced in other languages when service changes are introduced from 2023.  Engagement with local ethnic and minority groups will also be undertaken when service changes are introduced.

What is the current policy on uplifting contaminated bins - are these just left, resulting in overflowing bins and bags being left on ground, often ripped open by birds and foxes which can lead to vermin issues?

A new contamination policy has been drafted and is due to be implemented upon changes to collection services in 2023.  Currently, contaminated bins should be collected by the general waste collection crew on the next scheduled general waste collection day.

Persistent contamination at a property or communal area may result in recycling services being removed, however, residents will still be able to recycle via the network of public collection points of household waste recycling centres.

Lack of useful information from GCC re what can be recycled.  Also, what happens to recycling waste deposited in plastic bags?

Information on materials accepted with the different bins is available on the Council website.

Recycling within plastic bags will be collected and processed via the Blochairn MRF, however, recycling should be placed loose within the blue bins.

From an employability point of view, looks like there is lots of change coming up requiring lots of resource. Is there a plan to recruit more operatives/drivers? GCC needs more young workers, so liaising with Glasgow Guarantee could bring young people into the workforce. Also, aware of lack of qualified drivers (Class2 and above). Have seen jobs advertised for these, why are GCC not training and upskilling existing staff to do these jobs?

Future changes to the kerbside and flatted collection services will provide opportunities for new and existing staff.  Training of employees is key to ensuring there is a succession of staff to undertake new roles and responsibilities as the resource and recycling industry changes. 

The Council is in the process of tendering for an external trainer, to support internal training staff, and provide training for frontline staff to enable them to attain qualifications in this sector which will contribute to developing opportunity for career progression.

When are you anticipating charging for tonnage at the weigh bridges of the recycling centres? Currently lots of bulk waste is taken by organisations and charges will have a huge impact on whether this can continue and ultimately have an impact on the conditions of backcourts in the future.

There will be no application of charges for Glasgow residents accessing the household waste recycling centres.  Charges are currently applied to commercial operators depositing waste via the weighbridge to access the Council's transfer stations.  No decision has been made on applying charges to other organisations depositing waste via this route, however, as budgets are reviewed, all options must be considered.

How will the Council get adequate funding for all of these requirements - The SRF will not cover anywhere near what is required

The Scottish Government's Recycling Improvement Fund (RIF) is finite and will not cover all projects across all local authorities.  Glasgow will maximise, as far as practicable, the amount of funding via this route but it is acknowledged other sources of funding, internal and external, may be required.

Contamination is not just down to communication - It can also be down to frustration at the lack of materials able to be recycled and residents not wanting to put plastic etc in the green bin

Placing items that are not 'target materials' into the recycling bins can create problems at processing facilities and can negatively impact the quality of materials that are targeted for collection.  It is appreciated the willingness of some residents to recycle additional material streams which are not currently collected within the current services but only targeted materials should be placed within the respective recycling bins.

Additional materials will be collected as changes are made to collection services from 2023.

I think there needs to be communication about what to do with recyclables that can't currently recycle in local bins!  There are other schemes such as Terracycle but they are not always the most user friendly. Superdrug with chemist facilities such as Rutherglen for example recycle pill packets.  Communicate using local TV adverts and other social media platforms

This was done from Jan - March 2022 with adverts on local radio, STV, Council social media channels and other digital advertising.  Further communication will be undertaken as changes are implemented to collection services.

Someone mentioned earlier about what happens to the recyclable waste, where it ends up. I know people who refuse point blank to recycle because, in their words, "It's a waste of time, it just gets shipped abroad and dumped there". GCC/SG/UKGov need to be more open about where the waste does end up.

Information is available on the Council website on the destinations of material streams collected by the Council. 

I was told by a binman (accepted a few years ago) that recycling was just dumped into a huge pile in the centre (maybe Polmadie, can't remember).

This is not correct.

The Council has a statutory duty to collect the different material streams for recycling.  Disposing recyclable materials as general waste will result in higher management costs and reduces the opportunity to generate an income stream from the sale of recyclable material streams.  

Have contamination levels increased due to collection frequencies being revised.

Contamination was an issue before the introduction of three weekly residual collections and continues to be a problem after this service change.  Unfortunately, some residents will use their recycling bins to accommodate the loss in capacity within their general waste bin.

How do we bring to the fore of our agenda our responsibility as individuals and services/businesses to reduce consumption of resources?

The Council endeavours to assist residents and businesses in recycling and diverting high quality materials, however, residents and businesses also have a responsibility to ensure that they are aware of the importance of engaging with our recycling services, recognise the importance of saving resources and embrace the many benefits of a Circular Economy.

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