Dundee City Council’s decision to no longer collect ‘side waste’ left at the kerbside could see streets filled with rubbish, community figures have warned.
The local authority’s move will mean any extra bags left beside grey bins will simply be placed back inside the bin once it has been emptied.
The changes will come into effect in phases “over the second half of 2021” and are designed to encourage more recycling.
‘Not enough consultation’ on changes
Colin Clement, chairman of community group Stobswell Forum, says the need to recycle more is obvious – but that not enough residents have been asked for their views.
Mr Clement said: “At least in the short term, this decision has the ability to cause more rubbish to be left in the streets if people don’t change the way they behave.
“I think that there hasn’t been enough, or any, consultation.
“Has there been any alternatives considered? Has there been any analysis of the short, medium and long-term impacts of the change?”
But he added: “The bottom line is we need to change so many things if we are to get through this climate crisis and we shouldn’t use it as a political football.
“Everybody needs to make changes to their life.”
‘Restrictions on how much waste people generate’
Coldside Labour councillor George McIrvine believes the changes may have the opposite effect to improving recycling rates.
He said: “I’ve been approached by concerned local families, primarily those who have children still at home who are in effect adults.
“The addition of waste such as takeaway food, online ordering packaging and working from home only adds to the amount of waste accumulated and will add to the concerns many Dundonians will be faced with when these new directives are imposed.”
Mr McIrvine says encouraging recycling is important but “not at the expense of imposing restrictions on how much waste people generate”.
He added: “I fear an increase of flytipping will occur which already is witnessed across the city at disposal points and Eurobins.”
Dundee’s ‘poor record’ on recycling could change
Between 2015 and 2019, Dundee’s recycling rate only improved by 5% to 38.4% and is well below the Scottish average of 44.9%.
The council’s aim is to hit 70% by 2025, a figure that could actually take as long as 20 years to reach.
Andrew Llanwarne from environmental group Friends of the Earth Tayside says the policy is “a positive step”.
He says Dundee has a “poor record” on recycling and believes there are “useful lessons” to be taken from other successful areas.
He said: “To reinforce this change in policy and avoid too much negative reaction from some householders, it should be backed up with support and advice in the community.”
He suggests this could be targeted at areas where there is recycling apathy.
West End Lib Dem councillor Fraser Macpherson says the move will help keep Dundee’s streets clean and boost recycling.
He said: “The bottom line is if we want our streets clean we have to avoid bags just being chucked out in the street.
“They often get ripped open — usually by seagulls. I receive complaints from residents all the time about it.”
He added: “We really need to reduce recyclable material being put in bin bags too.”