A Borders farmer and organic recycling consultant has called the council’s plan to scrap kerbside garden waste collections ‘a backward step’.
Mike Orr, from Selkirk, believes that the move, due to be debated by councillors today, Thursday, will lead to a significant fall in recycling levels, fines for the council for missing targets, and a rise in landfill costs.
The council is aiming to save £800,000 by scrapping the service, which is not mandatory, and introducing food waste collections, which will be mandatory in 2016.
But, Mr Orr told The Southern that residents will simply go back to putting garden waste into general rubbish bins, which goes to landfill at a cost of over £70 per tonnes, compared to the current cost of recycling garden waste at around £20 per tonnes.
“It is absolutely right that the council should be collecting and recycling food waste separately, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of another form of recycling,” Mr Orr said.
The garden waste collection service is only available in certain Border towns, as the food waste collection will be too.
Mr Orr said: “I can understand the argument the council makes about not extending the garden waste collection to rural communities, because it would be too expensive to implement.
“There is common sense reasoning for that, but there is not for scrapping the service altogether.”
Mr Orr, the chairman of the Association for Organic Recycling, added that the council’s predicted initial five per cent fall in overall recycling due to the removal of the garden waste service was a ‘conservative estimate’.
He added that the report before councillors provided a ‘one-sided’ argument for making the changes.