More than half of the waste in plastic and can bins at Fife’s recycling points should not be in there, it has emerged.
Fife Resource Solutions has admitted that the 50%-plus contamination rate in those particular bins is proving “challenging” to deal with, with many of the bags being put in containing mixed household waste.
That could lead to some of the points – which are situated in communities across the region – being taken away if they continue to be misused.
Robin Baird, chief executive of Fife Resource Solutions, the arms-length organisation set up to manage recycling and waste, said he was puzzled that the issue only appears to have cropped up in plastic and can bins, with those designed for glass deposits normally unaffected by contamination.
Work is to be done on the issue to produce a new recycling guide for every household, but he warned: “If plastic and can bins are to remain at recycling points, the quality within these bins requires to improve in line with materials accepted in green kerbside bins.”
Waste regulations require the separate collections of plastics, metals, food, paper, cardboard and glass, although Fife’s four-bin kerbside collection service covers the majority of those.
However, Fife’s network of 278 recycling points offer convenient facilities for residents to recycle, while there are 11 household waste recycling centres with bins for glass, plastic and cans, and paper and cardboard.
There are currently 2,186 bins at recycling points across the region and Fife Resource Solutions service the equivalent of 3,068 recycling point bins each week.
There are 1,225 bins for glass bottles and jars, 708 plastic and can bins and 253 paper and cardboard bins.
A condition survey was carried out on all of the bins at recycling points during October and November last year, with 59 bin lids needing replacement, four bins needing replacement and 8% of the points requiring repairs to fencing.
A total of 14.5% of recycling points visited had flytipped waste present, and it is hoped that the proposed new recycling guide will raise awareness of recycling points and what they can be used for.
News of the contamination problem was highlighted at the region’s environment, protective services and community safety committee, where rationalisation of recycling points and the introduction of additional glass collection sites was approved.