Dec 14 2012 by Colin Rutherford, Kilmarnock Standard
Householders could face piling waste under major changes to the council’s green wheelie bin scheme.
A cost-cutting move will see them lifted once every four weeks instead of the current fortnightly uplift.
It’s outlined in a paper which looks set to be rubber-stamped by councillors today (Thursday).
The recommendation forms part of a range of budget measures designed to save the authority £25 million over the next three years.
The proposed waste management changes are aimed at making a substantial saving in the amount East Ayrshire spends on sending waste to landfill.
The council’s landfill budget for the current financial year totals £4.2 million, with landfill tax accounting for over half of that.
In addition recent legislation proposes progressive bans in the types of materials that can be sent to landfill.
By 2020 it is anticipated that there will be a prohibition on any materials that can be reused or recycled being disposed of in landfill.
East Ayrshire currently operates kerbside recycling of paper, bottles and cans and garden waste and in December 2010 introduced a pilot scheme for food waste and mixed plastic collection.
Councillors heard last week that the trial, covering 9453 households, had proved popular, bringing in 10 tonnes of food waste and six tonnes of plastic every week.
The introduction of a four-weekly collection of residual waste is, however, likely to prove more controversial.
In the report presented to the cabinet by the council’s head of housing and environment services Chris McAleavey, he concedes that “public understanding and acceptance of the case for change is essential”.
For that reason the phased introduction of the new arrangements is proposed.
Mr McAleavey’s report states: “Householders are afforded the time to experience the volumes of food and plastic they can recycle and realise independently that a fortnightly waste collection is no longer required.”
The extension of recycling services is dependent on the council obtaining funding support from Zero Waste Scotland.
If the scheme is accepted by the council, an application for funding of £837,000 is likely to follow.
The new arrangements would also involve an additional 36 employees.
The cabinet’s recommendations envisage the extension of kerbside recycling services over the next two financial years, with the introduction of a four-weekly residual collection in 2015/16.
Council leader Douglas Reid described the potential for savings in the landfill budget as very significant.
And Councillor Bobby McDill said: “We should be recycling everything we possibly can.”