Council official defends recycling scheme

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Scottish Borders Council’s waste manager has defended its recycling figures after claims that Galashiels is drowning in litter.

Ross Sharp-Dent said recycling had increased five-fold since 2005 when the local authority upped its commitment in the face of 
increased landfill taxes and 
pressure from the Scottish 
Government.

But he still heard a number of complaints from residents in the town at last week’s community council meeting.

Among them was Drew Tulley, who said: “I don’t think we do nearly enough recycling. There are bottles and cans lying across the town.

“The council is charged £90 per tonne it takes to the rubbish tip. We need to recycle more and there are areas such as Church Street and Croft Street which are causing concern.”

Mr Sharp-Dent replied: “In 2005 we recycled only eight per cent of waste in the Borders, that now stands at 44 per cent.

“We have made significant improvements but there is always room to make more.”

There was also worries from Gala Park resident Betty Scott, who complained that the area was being ruined by recycling bags lying around the Scottish Borders Housing Association-owned flats. She said: “We are all trying to keep Gala clean and tidy, but if there is no area we can keep our rubbish, we can’t do it. Nothing has been done since 2005.”

Mr Sharp-Dent explained the council were waiting on the social landlord to provide a compound within the Gala Park flats to keep blue-lidded recycling bins.

He added: “We have brought in a new system in 2005. We can’t sort everything overnight and there are financial costs involved for SBHA, who own the land.”

Galashiels councillor John Mitchell added: “We don’t have control with SBHA or any social landlord. We try our best but sometimes it is like batting your head against a brick wall.”

Residents of Hazeldean sheltered housing unit also attended the meeting to complain of no rubbish bags being delivered, which Graham Prentice, SBC’s refuse collection manager, promised would be rectified.

He also said he would look into mirroring a project set up in Clovenfords for Hazeldean’s residents, whereby volunteers pick up unwanted glass from elderly neighbours and delivered it to bottle banks.