Bin trials aim to cut waste for landfill

Fife Council wants to reduce waste going to landfill by making changes to the current four-bin collection system.
Fife Council wants to reduce waste going to landfill by making changes to the current four-bin collection system.

Two trials of new refuse collections – which will include less frequent emptying of the blue bins for general waste – will begin this summer.

The year-long trials, which will affect up to 4000 households in Fife, are being introduced in a bid to reduce waste going to landfill.

Fifty per cent of what’s going in landfill bins shouldn’t be there

Cllr Peter Grant

In one of the trials, the blue bins will be emptied every three weeks, instead of the current two, and in the other only every four weeks.

However, green bins – used for recyclable materials such as plastics and cans – will be emptied more frequently.

Councillors this week approved the trials in a bid to find ways of complying with tough regulations which will ban the landfilling of waste from January 2021, and to meet ambitious recycling targets set by the Scottish Government.

Councillor Peter Grant, SNP group leader, said apart from the financial implications, there were environmental benefits to reducing waste going to landfill.

He said: “Fifty per cent of what’s going in landfill bins shouldn’t be there.

“We’re aiming to meet a target of 60 per cent of waste being recycled. In some areas of Fife it’s been up as high as 75 per cent, so it shows what can be achieved.

“However, there’s still a big minority who think it’s someone else’s responsibility.”

The areas where the trials will be carried out have not yet been decided, but will be in parts of Fife with “average” recycling levels.

One of the trials will involve blue bin collections every three weeks, green bin and grey bin (paper and card) collections every three weeks; and brown bin (garden and food waste) collections every two weeks from March to October, then every four weeks in winter.

The second trial will see blue bin emptied every four weeks; green bins every two weeks; grey bins every four weeks; and brown bins every two weeks from March until October, then every four weeks in winter.

The trials will begin in August or September. If successful, the preferred option will then be rolled out throughout Fife between 2016 and 2018.

Chris Ewing, chief operating officer of Resource Efficient Solutions, the company set up by Fife Council to provide waste services, said if no improvements were made to the current four-bin system, and the cost for landfill disposals stayed the same, the cost to the Council could be an extra £1.5 m a year.

He said: “We’ve had to have a look at changes to collections to improve recycling rates and these two options identified could also save the council money.”