Areas of Glenrothes have been selected by Fife Council for trials of new bin collection patterns aimed at improving recycling.
Two trials will start in September – one in Markinch and Coaltown of Balgonie, and the other in Thornton and Stenton – and will run for at least nine months so that recycling results can be realistically compared to the rest of Fife.
People all over Fife have been telling us they want plastics and cans collected more often, so the trials are responding to this.Ken Gourlay, Fife Council
In the Markinch and Coaltown trial, blue bins (landfill waste) will be emptied every three weeks instead of the current two weeks; green bins (cans and plastics) and grey bins (paper and cardboard) will be emptied every three weeks instead of every four weeks; and brown bins (food and garden waste) will be emptied every two weeks as at present, except between November and February, when collections will be every four weeks.
In Thornton and Stenton, blue bins will be emptied every four weeks; green bins every two weeks; grey bins every four weeks; and brown bins every two weeks, again dropping to every four weeks from November to February.
The trials were approved by Fife Council earlier this year, but the decision was met with some opposition, with just under 3000 people signing an online petition calling for the idea to be scrapped.
However, Council officers claimed many households had asked for changes.
Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment, said: “People all over Fife have been telling us they want plastics and cans collected more often, so the trials are responding to this.
“In a doorstep survey we found over 66 per cent of green bins were full or overly full at collection time.
“So, on one trial route we’ll empty them every three weeks, and on the other route we’ll empty them fortnightly.
“We also found that only a third of the waste in household landfill (blue) bins actually needed to go to landfill.
“More than half of the rubbish could have been recycled in other wheelie bins – so freeing up space in the green bin should help with this.
“Still more of the waste could go to recycling points or centres, so if we keep working with people, there’s definitely scope to reduce blue bin collections.”
More information will be provided to all residents involved in the trials.
And the Council also plans to make arrangements to provide bigger blue bins or more frequent collections for households with medical waste or large families with children in nappies.
Mr Gourlay added: “It’s important to stress that these are just trials.
“But we need to try something different because, although Fifers are good at recycling and we should meet the Government’s target of recycling 60 per cent of waste by 2020, it’s going to take a lot more to achieve the 2025 target of 70 per cent.
“The four bin system has been a success but, with the landfill tax rising, if we can’t make more improvements, waste disposal could cost us an extra £1.5 million each year.”
Councillor Ian Sloan (Glenrothes Central and Thornton) agreed there was scope for more recycling of waste, highlighting survey results showing only 36 per cent of the contents of blue bins needed to be put there.
He also urged all four communities to air their views on the success – or otherwise – of the trials through their community councils.
Cllr Sloan said: “As a local councillor for Coaltown and Thornton I would urge all residents to carefully monitor these trials and to participate fully in the consultation and analysis process so that their views on the proposals are working out for them.”