Mixing waste was the most '˜efficient' option

North Lanarkshire Council has defended its decision to ignore recycling efforts last week.

In preparation for the introduction of the new bin schedules householders were told to put their black, green and blue bins out for collection.

However, many were shocked when all three were mixed together having been emptied into the back on the same lorries.

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One householder said: “I watched them tip all the glass in with the paper and put it in the lorry and then my general waste bin followed into the back of the same lorry.

“Seems a funny way to encourage us to recycle if after we’ve gone to the trouble of separating everything they just mix it back together again.”

The council admitted the situation was ‘not ideal’, but was the most efficient and cost effective way to operate.

A spokesperson said: “It was not practical or cost effective to use different vehicles to uplift the different bins last week, so while collecting all the waste in one vehicle is not ideal, it was still the most efficient option.

“It means households could start placing the correct materials in the two recycling bins from last week, with no contamination from previous weeks. It also prevented any bins being left for four weeks between collections.

“In addition, the council has new contracts for processing waste materials so by emptying all the bins last week, our new contractors will be uplifting the correct recyclable materials in each bin from day one.

“The lowest gate fees for waste are incurred where we deliver the best quality material, so by eliminating contamination we actually save in the longer term.

“However, up to 40 percent of general household waste is reprocessed to create refuse derived fuel so not all the waste collected will go to landfill.”

Meanwhile thousands of households may have to wait up to two weeks for new bins to be delivered.

In an e-mail to councillors on Friday, the head of Regulatory Services and Waste Solutions, Andrew McPherson, said: “We have received approximately 9,000 requests for new/additional bins within the past 10 days.

“This is an excellent outcome as the whole point of the new service is to encourage people to recycle more. The short term issue we now have is to deliver all of the bins.

“We will ensure deliveries are undertaken as quickly as possible, but it is likely this may take up to two weeks.”