Concerns raised about three weekly West Dunbartonshire bin collections

We previously reported that the plans were initially approved during the budget meeting earlier this year and aim to increase recycling rates across the local authority as much as possible. 

However, concerns have been brought up about the problems three weekly collections seem to be causing in other local authorities. 

And it has also emerged that 600 residents responded to an online public consultation carried out by the council – but no questions were asked about the proposals to move to three weekly bin collections.

The plans for the new bin collection timetables, which were presented to members of the Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development (IRED) committee, have been included in a new waste strategy, devised by council officers to improve recycling.

At the IRED committee, councillor Jonathon McColl said he was shocked to hear that the online survey did not ask for the public view on this and that very little feedback had been received from locals including community groups on the move to three weekly collections. 

Councillor McColl said: “In other areas who have moved to three weekly collections, feedback from those councillors cross-party and the public is that there has been little evidence of a direct correlation between moving to three weekly collections, landfill waste and increased recycling rates.

“There has also been an increase in flytipping, bin bags being left next to public litter bins that get ripped open by wildlife.

“We have a significant problem here with a large seagull population. Has consideration been given to increasing capacity within the team to dealing with the increased flytipping?”

A council officer confirmed that no plans were in place to increase litter collection and flytipping hotspots have been identified and monitored. 

They said: “It is up to communities to understand the role they play. We are providing information so people know where their bins are, they know where the recycling centres are and know what should be going in each bin and why.”

During the meeting, the Labour administration moved the recommendation by officers to approve the waste strategy and five-year action plan developed by council officers, but an amendment by councillor McColl asked members to agree that they remained unconvinced that there would be any significant increase in recycling by reducing residual waste collection to a three weekly cycle.

It read: “The committee is concerned about the impact this will have on flytipping, general cleanliness and litter pollution in residential areas due to overflowing household wastebins would constitute not only a nuisance for our citizens but public health risk.

“Committee believes these risks outweigh any potential benefit.

“In agreeing to the recommendations, the committee condemns the decision by the Labour administration to move to three weekly landfill waste collections and condemns the Labour administration’s continued policy of no public consultation on public savings.”

Speaking on his amendment, councillor McColl said that he agreed with the Scottish Government’s targets.

He said: “We need education to reduce people’s reliance on green and black bins, only when the need for capacity is reduced is it responsible to make such a drastic change.”

But council leader Martin Rooney said the waste strategy wasn’t all about the three weekly collections – but responding to legislative requirements and the Scottish Government requirements to help tackle climate change.

Councillor Rooney said: “Local people and businesses want to recycle more but they do need help in doing so and the waste strategy does exactly that.

“The five-year waste strategy links directly to our climate change strategy which was approved in November 2020.

“It sets out the steps we need to take to deliver a number of actions that will ensure we have an efficient and compliant service.”

He went on: “I do understand the attraction of focusing everything on the three weekly bin collections but that ship has sailed. We agreed that in March in the budget.

“We have opened up opportunities to recycle much more and meet the Scottish Government targets which we are committed to doing.

“Tackling climate change isn’t just a global issue – we need to do our bit locally.”

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