Jedburgh residents are being warned that they must make use of a mobile recycling unit on its way to the town if they are to have any hope of getting a permanent such facility in future.
A monthly mobile recycling service pilot scheme is being launched in the town next month as part of a region-wide consultation, and townsfolk are being told they need to take part in it to help make a case for a proper centre.
Jedburgh councillor Scott Hamilton told last week’s meeting of the town’s community council: “It’s a pilot to assess the need for recycling in Jedburgh.
“It’s a major issue and a long-standing gripe of mine.
“It’s something I feel passionately about, and I know others do as well.
“Going forward, we need people to use it and to give their views through the survey.”
Scottish Borders Council waste bosses are also planning to try out mobile recycling services in Coldstream, Lauder, Newcastleton and West Linton.
The pilot service in Jedburgh will be in operation from Sunday, September 8, to Sunday, December 22, with an online survey running alongside it to gauge public use.
The unit will be sited in the Glebe car park at Lothian Park on Sundays between 10am and 3pm, taking waste including wood, electrical items, TVs and monitors, domestic batteries, cooking oil and garden tools.
The local authority says three bin bags of such materials will be accepted per vehicle making only one trip per day in a bid to ensure that as many people as possible can use the facility.
For the first two months of the pilot, three bags of grass cuttings or hedge clippings will be also be accepted.
No general or trade waste will be accepted, however, and no items should be left in the car park before or after the service has arrived or left.
Council bosses are warning that misuse such as fly-tipping, queue-jumping or abuse of staff will lead to the pilot service being withdrawn.
Once recycling vehicles are full, they will leave and will not be able to return until the following Sunday.
Mr Hamilton added: “It’s a limited service. Without building a facility, you have got to have a limit to it. But what I would say is that I hope the people of Jed will support it.
“If people fly-tip, it will send a negative signal and will harm our chances in the end.
“In a way, the best thing that can happen is that it has to leave early every Sunday because it’s full. That would show it really is needed.”
The popularity of the pilot project and results of the online survey will be analysed and presented to councillors next year.
Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, the regional council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said: “Borderers have helped save £2m a year on landfill tax, thanks to their efforts in recycling.
“However, we still have around 70% of waste in our general bins which could have been recycled. Not only does this have an impact on the local environment but it costs taxpayers over £1m a year which could be spent elsewhere.
“It is important to emphasise this is a pilot scheme, with the results of the pilot and survey to be considered fully before a final decision is made.
“As a result, it is also important that as many people as possible take part in the survey to give us their views.”
The survey can be found online at www.scotborders.citizenspace.com