LIKE all other local authorities nationwide, Scottish Borders Council is being encouraged to take advantage of Government funding aimed at helping Scotland reach its 50 per cent recycling target.
Speaking at the Scottish Waste and Resources Conference last week, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Richard Lochhead announced that £1.2 million of additional funding would be available between now and April to help councils meet their commitments by the end of 2013.
The new cash will be available specifically for funding improvements to Household Waste Recycling Centres and for increasing collections of glass from households. The funds will be administered by Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government’s delivery partner.
This is in addition to £5 million already made available through Zero Waste Scotland this year to support household food waste collections.
Mr Lochhead commented: “Our vision for zero waste is a long-term ambition, but getting to the point where the majority of our household waste is recycled will be a major milestone, especially considering that before devolution our recycling rate was just 5 per cent.
“Councils have already made huge progress and seven councils have already hit the challenging 50 per cent recycling target. I encourage all councils to work with Zero Waste Scotland and take advantage of this additional funding so we can see the target hit across the whole country.
“Raising our recycling rates is also about a much bigger prize. It is about keeping valuable materials circulating in our economy then we can create more jobs and business opportunities here in Scotland.”
Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland said: “Getting more valuable materials out of landfill – which carries an increasing cost – and putting them back into our economy, where they can create value, is just common sense.
“People across Scotland want to recycle more, but in some areas, particularly rural or high-density urban areas, it can be challenging.
“By targeting improvements to recycling centres and by funding more glass recycling in particular, we believe we can make a real difference in a short space of time, helping people to recycle more things, more often.”
Scottish Borders Council have made recycling one of their priorities in the last couple of years and achieved a year on year increase in the amount of waste recycled in the region.
And a spokesperson for the local authority said any funding to improve this even further would be welcomed.
They commented: “The funding is available to councils who are successful in the submission of a business case and associated funding bid.
“SBC is pleased to see additional support such as this being made available to local authorities, and will be reviewing the guidance and funding criteria in due course before considering bid submissions.”
Councillor Stephen Hagan, COSLA Spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability added: “COSLA and the Scottish Government want to see as much waste as possible being prevented, re-used and if not recycled. The present performance of Scotland is impressive and there is continuing desire from councils for further improvements.
“The continuing commitment shown by individuals, businesses and communities to separate waste for recycling, put out kerbside bins and take materials to recycling centres, should be commended. Such commitment is often not considered when publishing statistics, announcing funding or launching new campaigns. It is truly a remarkable demonstration of some great work by all and also highlights opportunities to achieve more through continued joint working.”