North Lanarkshire Council’s leader put the blame on Zero Waste Scotland as he went back on a pre-election pledge not to change bin collections.
Back in April we reported the council planned to make changes to the waste cycles in the autumn, including reducing general waste collections to once every three weeks.
This was denied by council leader Jim Logue who said: “This is not happening, full stop. If re-elected, Labour will make sure bins are collected on the same cycles as they are at present.”
However, last week the Policy and Resources Committee approved changes to bin collections in a bid to meet national recycling targets and save £670,000 a year.
The new scheme will see a reduction in the number of bins collected and change what goes in bins.
Food and garden waste will be collected in a single bin fortnightly, with other bins for: paper and card; glass, metal and plastic; and residual waste each being collected on a three-weekly cycle.
Councillor Logue defended the move, despite his earlier comments, saying: “I thought local authorities still had the flexibility to dictate the journey of travel towards bin collections.
“When we came back (after the election) discussions by that time saw us being told by Zero Waste Scotland ‘here are the requirements, this is what is happening as a result of it’.
“The council is being pushed into this, we have a recycling rate of 46 per cent, but told that isn’t good enough. If we don’t recycle 60 per cent by 2020, every tonne we send to a treatment plant, because we won’t be able to use landfill, will cost us £100.
“If we don’t agree to heighten the profile of recycling through a new arrangement we will be forced to pay £1.6m, I’m not going to spend £1.6m putting rubbish in a hole or sending it to a treatment centre that could be spent on other services.”
Zero Waste Scotland denied any changes had been made to the Household Recycling Charter, an agreement between the Scottish Government and COSLA, since April.
A spokesperson said: “Nothing has changed since April, in terms of requirements for councils who are signed up to the charter.
“It’s for councils to decide on their own services – under the charter, councils can consider a reduction in frequency of collections.”
As part of the plans the council will invest £1.5 million in the new service, with additional investment in household waste recycling centres.