Rubbish being dumped in the wrong bins by households across the Kingdom is costing cash-strapped Fife Council more than £2million a year to process.
Food and garden waste wrongly discarded in the blue bins accounted for 12,000 tonnes – around 27% – of the Fife’s total landfill waste for 2017, it has been revealed.
That cost the local authority, which is already suffering budget shortfalls, £1.15m in landfill tax and processing fees.
That amount is thought to double to more than £2m-a-year when the amount of wrongly discarded plastics and glass are also taken into consideration.
It currently costs the council £91.35-per-tonne in landfill tax plus an additional £13 per tonne to process the waste committed to landfill.
SNP Glenrothes Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of the environment, protective services and community safety committee, said the situation has become untenable and is now calling on the public to become more responsible in how it uses its household bins.
He said: “There can be no excuses for such abuse of the council’s recycling services which is one of the best in Scotland.
“Considering the severe financial constraints now facing the council we are effectively burying that money in the ground.
“Had the food and garden waste been put in the correct bin in the first instance then it would have been processed by the council and turned into compost at a cost of about £40 per tonne.
“That equates to a cash saving, in addition to producing an environmentally friendly compost, of approximately £750,000.
“Taking into consideration Fife has the third biggest local authority of the 32 in Scotland, waste collection and recycling services provided by the council rank amongst the very best in the country.
“If the community would use them properly the saving getting close to £2 million per year, which could be spent on providing other essential services.
“We simply have to become better as a society at how we consider recycling. It’s no longer acceptable to ignore or dismiss it as unimportant as some people are still doing.”
A spokesman for Fife Council said: “It’s disappointing to see that despite the bins being provided we still have a significant amount of waste put in the wrong bins.
“In 2018 Fife recycled 51% and diverted 58% of its household waste from landfill.
“However, there is still more to do. Scotland has challenging targets of by 2025 recycling 70% and sending 5% to landfill.”