Qual­ity and quan­tity of re­cy­cled items ex­ceeds all hopes

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - Ju­dith Ton­ner

House­hold­ers have been praised for the quan­tity and qual­ity of re­cy­cled items col­lected since the bin col­lec­tion cy­cle changes took ef­fect.

The first three months of the new sys­tem pro­duced 19,830 tons of re­cy­cled ma­te­rial – an ex­tra 1164 tons or six per cent com­pared to the same quar­ter of 2016.

Its qual­ity was “sig­nif­i­cantly above” what was ex­pected, with be­tween 90 and 95 per cent be­ing in the top band-one cat­e­gory, com­pared to ex­pec­ta­tions of only 10 to 25 per cent.

Res­i­dents re­cy­cled 1598 more tons of food and gar­den waste than ex­pected, and 55 tons more pa­per and card; but col­lec­tions of glass, me­tal and plas­tic were down 1600 tons on what had been an­tic­i­pated.

How­ever, coun­cil of­fi­cials noted in a re­port: “There have been a to­tal of 21,878 new glass/me­tal/plas­tic bins is­sued since the start of the new ser­vice, so it is ex­pected that this ton­nage will in­crease.”

The new sys­tem’s in­tro­duc­tion was be­set with dif­fi­cul­ties, in­clud­ing missed col­lec­tions and pull­outs, thou­sands of bins not be­ing in place for the start of the scheme or be­ing tagged for con­tam­i­na­tion, and new biodegrad­able food bags be­ing un­avail­able.

Coun­cil­lor Michael McPake, North La­nark­shire’s in­fra­struc­ture con­vener, said: “De­spite these prob­lems, res­i­dents clearly want to re­cy­cle as much waste as pos­si­ble and have re­sponded pos­i­tively by us­ing the three re­cy­cling bins ef­fec­tively.

“We have seen more re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als col­lected and the qual­ity of that ma­te­rial is high, which means less resid­ual waste goes to land­fill.

“If the level of col­lec­tion con­tin­ues, we could see an over­all re­cy­cling rate of 47 per cent for 2017-18, com­pared to 41 per cent in the pre­vi­ous year – this would be a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards achiev­ing the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment tar­get of 60 per cent by 2020.”

He added: “There were sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems at the in­tro­duc­tion of our new ser­vice, and we do ap­pre­ci­ate the in­con­ve­nience this caused. Although most of these have now been re­solved, we recog­nise there are still is­sues af­fect­ing cer­tain ar­eas and we are con­tin­u­ing to ad­dress these.

“I’d like to thank all res­i­dents for their pa­tience dur­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of the ser­vice and for their com­mit­ment to re­cy­cling which is de­liv­er­ing very en­cour­ag­ing re­sults.”

Coun­cil­lors at the in­fra­struc­ture

com­mit­tee were told that a to­tal of 36,000 ad­di­tional and re­place­ment bins have been de­liv­ered to date, with the “larger than ex­pected de­mand” com­ing from “res­i­dents who had pre­vi­ously opted out of re­cy­cling [re­al­is­ing] that they re­quired all bins to en­sure suf­fi­cient ca­pac­ity” and from “prop­er­ties that were not fully part of the pre­vi­ous re­cy­cling scheme and should have been iden­ti­fied as re­quir­ing ad­di­tional bins”.

Around 40,000 bins were red-tagged for con­tam­i­na­tion in the first three weeks of the new ser­vice, and the re­port added: “Feed­back re­ceived from res­i­dents sug­gested there had been an overly strict ap­proach; fur­ther train­ing and in­struc­tion has now been pro­vided to en­sure a more prag­matic ap­proach is taken. How­ever, from March con­tam­i­nated bins will not be up­lifted un­til the next cy­cle.”

Im­prove­ments to the pull-out ser­vice are be­ing made, and a sys­tem has been es­tab­lished to trans­fer bin-re­lated calls from the coun­cil’s con­tact cen­tre di­rect to the waste team – af­ter the new sys­tem saw the av­er­age num­ber of calls per day prior to Christ­mas nearly dou­ble to 1400 from the pre­vi­ous 800.

Coun­cil­lors were also told that there has been a “marked in­crease” in the use of re­cy­cling cen­tres.

New sys­tem Teething trou­bles haven’t de­terred res­i­dents’ de­ter­mi­na­tion

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