MONTHLY bin collections are being trialled in Scotland for the first time in a bid to boost recycling rates.
The pilot scheme, among the first in the UK, means 2,000 homes around Glenrothes in Fife will have their landfill rubbish collected every four weeks instead of fortnightly.
A further 2,000 properties will have landfill waste picked up every three weeks.
Recycling bins will be emptied more often during the nine-month experiment, which aims to cut the amount of waste being buried.
The communities involved in the project are Markinch and Coaltown of Balgonie, and Thornton and Stenton.
But local residents fear the scheme will prove disastrous for their communities, with overflowing dustbins proving a magnet for seagulls and vermin and longer lying time creating an increase in foul odours.
Sending waste to landfill currently costs the local authority £10 million a year.
However, despite above-average recycling rates in Fife, council leaders say analysis has revealed that more than half of the rubbish currently being disposed of in blue landfill bins could be reused.
Local councillors say rising waste disposal charges could mean finding an extra £1.5m each year if recycling rates don’t increase.
Fife is on track to meet the Scottish Government target of recycling 60 per cent of waste by 2020, but the council has admitted more needs to be done to achieve the 2025 aim for 70 per cent recycling and a maximum of 5 per cent of waste going to landfill.
“People across Fife have been telling us they want plastics and cans collected more often, so our trials are responding to this,” said Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment at Fife Council.
“This is a pilot to get more information so that we can meet the needs of local people, develop a cleaner, greener Fife as well as reduce our waste disposal costs.
“If we fail to increase recycling rates in Fife then we are throwing money away.”
But Ian Robertson, chair of the Glenrothes Area Residents Federation, which represents more than 2,000 tenants in the region, says many households already have too much rubbish for fortnightly collections of blue bins.
This leads to problems bad smells and scavenging animals.
“It will be a disaster,” he said. “It will bring in rats, vermin. Then there is the noxious smells – dirty nappies lying in a bin for a month will stink.
“If you have to put out extra rubbish in bags then cats, dogs, seagulls and crows rip them open and everything gets scattered all over the place.
“People are struggling with collections every two weeks. I think the council is just looking for brownie points, or greenie points. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know who thinks these things up.”
The council says households producing medical waste and those with larger families or children in nappies may request larger blue bins during the trial.
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