SBC councillors set to discuss green bins petition

Scottish Border green waste wheelie bin
Scottish Border green waste wheelie bin

Almost 8,000 residents from across the Borders region have now signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of the kerbside green bin collections.

Now ‘The Green Bin Collection’ petition, which has been organised by Andrew Farquhar, is to be discussed by Scottish Borders councillors at today’s (Thursday, October 23) Petitions’ Committee meeting at Newtown St Boswells.

Explaining the reasons for starting the petition Mr Farquhar said: “Scottish Borders Council has always enjoyed an excellent reputation for the way it dealt with refuse collection, recycling and garden waste disposal. But all that changed on April 1, when the kerbside garden waste collection service was withdrawn without any consideration for, or consulation with, service users.

“The decision was particularly baffling given that the percentage of Borders waste being recycled was bound to fall significantly at a time when the long-term aim in Scotland is zero waste going to landfill.

“The suspension of the fortnightly green bin uplift has caused widespread outrage and dismay as demonstrated by the number of signatures the petition has attracted (7,657) in a relatively short space of time, and despite limited resources available.”

The petition lists the problems that have arisen, the main one being that the recycling centres across the region failed to cope with the increase in demand.

There has also been criticism of towns, such as Kelso, Jedburgh and Coldstream, being left without reasonable access to disposal facilities - in Berwickshire there are recycling centres at Duns and Eyemouth.

Evidence of fly tipping in the countryside “as a direct result of the council’s ill-thought out decision” is also cited.

Examples are given of how the changes have increased rather than decreased the council’s carbon footprint - Kelso’s garden waste was previously collected by three vehicles but now it takes about 240 car journeys to transport the same amount of green waste.

Scottish Borders Council’s reason for stopping green waste collections was that they were having to introduce food waste collections from the larger towns such as Hawick and Galashiels. However, opponents claim that enquiries to other local authorities reveal that many run both food and garden waste collections and they had not stopped one collection because they were having to introduce another.