Council removes recycling units after fly-tippers 'abuse facilities'

Glasgow City Council said public bins for dry, mixed recycling were being 'contaminated' through 'misuse'.

Glasgow City Council remove recycling units after fly-tippers ‘abuse facilities’ STV News

Recycling units across Glasgow are to be removed because of concerns they are being regularly misused and abused by fly-tippers.

The GMB trade union believes that the council has already started to take away some of the units from supermarkets, shopping centres, train stations and other public sites across the city. 

Workers, who say their positions are at risk of being made redundant, also fear this will have a negative impact on recycling rates in the city. 

But the local authority says that these bins are frequently contaminated with all types of waste, which means that potentially recyclable materials cannot be saved.

The council is also reassuring staff they will be redeployed onto other duties while working the same hours from their current depot.

GMB convenor Chris Mitchell said: “They are trying to reimagine their bin policy with an extra recycling bin per household but what they haven’t told the public is that they are removing recycling points across the city.

“It is my members that service these points so they have been told that their post will be made redundant. 

“The council claims that these recycling points are being abused by shopkeepers and by people fly-tipping but we think the council should be challenging shopkeepers.

“People use these units all the time. They are taking the unit away where people can dispose of plastics, papers and cans. 

“This will be happening over the next couple of months and all recycling units, not just the ones at supermarkets, will be removed. 

“This is a recycling tragedy, not a strategy.”

Staff who service these recycling points are urging the council to keep them open as not everyone can afford to travel further afield to dispose of their rubbish.

There are also concerns that there is not enough capacity for people to recycle in their own bins even with the extra wheelie bin being introduced to Glasgow homes this summer as part of a drive to stop people putting their rubbish in the wrong containers.

A driver for the council, who does not wish to be named, told the LDR service: “People of Glasgow use these recycling public sites a lot as an additional resource because they might not have the capacity in their own recycling bins. 

“They use the public sites so they can help the council with their recycling rates to improve them but the other side of the coin is if you take away these public sites, it’s going to affect people who can’t travel to civic amenity sites located in depots. 

“There are a number of reasons for this. It could be that the distance is too far, or they have mobility issues so I would like to see these units continue in areas that use them a lot. 

“I dare say the council will have staff that know what sites get used all the time and it is good recycling that comes out of it and it is not contaminated. 

“It would be great to keep public sites in areas that require them and use them.”

Glasgow City Council has confirmed that public sites for glass, food and textiles will be retained.

A spokesman said: “Unfortunately, the public bins for dry, mixed recycling are regularly misused and attract fly-tipping.

“The bins are frequently contaminated with all types of waste that means that potentially recyclable materials cannot be recycled.

“Residents that live near to the public recycling bins regularly complain about fly-tipping, and we have seen improvements in this when we have removed some of these bins.

“We have engaged with trade union colleagues in relation to our budget options, including this one, and we have assured them that staff will be redeployed on to other duties, while continuing to work the same hours from their current depot.

“In certain circumstances, dry, mixed recycling bins may remain on the street, but these will be for use of specific households only.

“Public recycling points for glass, food and textiles will be retained.”

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