New bid to cut excess waste and boost recycling

A new policy was agreed today (Thursday, 7 February) to help Glasgow households make the most of their recycling facilities.

Recycle Bin

Glasgow introduced a new system of managed weekly collections for kerbside properties -detached, semi detached, four-in-a-block, terraced and bungalows - in August 2011.

The service increased the opportunity to recycle and has been well received, with the amount of recycling collected from participating households up by more than a third in an average week.

However, analysis shows that not all households are making full use of their recycling facilities and, instead, are dumping bags of excess waste next to or on top of their green bin.

In the three months from June to August 2012, households presented excess waste on around 8,000 occasions and, while this is a small percentage of overall collections, it has significant environmental, financial and operational consequences.

The city currently has no option but to send all of this waste to landfill, which not only has an adverse impact on the environment, but comes at a huge cost to the taxpayer.

In the last financial year, Glasgow paid £13.47 million in landfill taxes alone and, although, recycling performance is currently improving, that figure is expected to reach £14.24 million for the current financial year.

So, an increase of just 1% in the city's recycling rate would save around £130,000 - but a similar amount lost to landfill through excess waste leaves taxpayers picking up the tab.

Executive member for Sustainability and Transport, Cllr Jim Coleman said: "Overloading your bin or dumping extra bags of waste next to it, because you don't want to recycle, just isn't an option.

"Even if you have no interest in the environmental consequences, you can't avoid the impact it has on your local community and your neighbours.

"Not only are the bags of waste unsightly, but they disrupt collections and, ultimately, waste taxpayers' money at a time when many of the services Glaswegians rely on are under pressure due to cuts in public spending."

Plans include support and advice for any households struggling to make best use of their recycling facilities. However, in extreme cases, where residents repeatedly dump extra waste, it will not be collected and enforcement action may be taken.

This is already standard practice with most other local authorities and is considered essential in meeting stiff government targets on recycling and landfill diversion.

The policy only covers homes receiving a kerbside collection, not properties like flats, tenements and multi-storeys. Those receiving assisted collections will also be unaffected.

It is proposed that the new policy will come into effect in the last week in March 2013. Where a problem is identified, a four-stage process will be applied.

First instance

Waste will be uplifted. A sticker notifying the householder that excess waste cannot be presented - and what to do about - will be placed on the bin.

Second instance

Waste will be uplifted. A sticker will be placed on the bin to inform the resident and Land and Environmental Services will write to them with further information to help them use the recycling facilities available.

Third instance

A sticker will be placed on the bin. An officer will visit the address to discuss the problem and give advice and assistance.

Fourth instance

A sticker will be placed on the bin. Enforcement action, such as a fixed penalty notice for fly tipping, may be taken.