South Lanarkshire recycling rates in decline

Provisional figures have revealed recycling rates in South Lanarkshire have fallen to their lowest level for at least eight years.

Earlier this year, the council ran a litter campaign to try to address the problem.

Just over 40 per cent of household waste in the region was recycled in 2020-21 – almost 10 per cent below target.

Council leader John Ross has said that the issue is “a problem and something we need to look at”.

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A meeting of the council’s performance and review scrutiny forum heard that recycling rates had fallen to 40.9 per cent in 2020-21 partly due to the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.

Facilities officer Ian Guild said that “people took to just throwing stuff out in the street” while council services were impacted during the early stages of lockdown.

Recycling rates in South Lanarkshire peaked in 2016-17 at 53 per cent but the council has never been able to reach the 50 per cent target since and there could be as many as 5000 homes in the region that aren’t offered a kerbside recycling service.

Clydesdale East Councillor Alex Allison was concerned that the council did not offer a “full service” to residents.

Cllr Allison said: “Looking at the total household waste that is recycled, it is an amber target.

“I’m led to believe there are 5000 residencies in South Lanarkshire that we don’t offer any recycling facilities for.

“There are a lot of rural areas where the service is not offered. The response I got last time I asked was lack of funding to provide the extra vehicles.

“What I think might be beneficial as well for us is to find out what it would cost to give a full service within South Lanarkshire.”

He asked what was being done to extend the kerbside recycling service however, facilities officer Ian Guild said “I don’t have the answer”.

Council leader Ross asked if a “more full” report could be provided to forum members so that they “all got an idea of just exactly the extent of this and where we are going with it”.

He added: “I am certainly not against us having a real look at this and seeing if we can bring something forward and resolve this situation.

“I quite agree with you. It is a problem and something we need to look at.”

Addressing the issue, Mr Guild said: “We had some issues with the household waste recycling centres in the early days of lockdown.

“That was resolved so there was always that opportunity for people to dispose of their waste through that.

“If you are actually just talking about providing bins, I know we still have issues in places like East Kilbride where terraced houses can’t take any bins.

“It’s down to the make up of the town in some places.

“We did experience some of our less well-behaved residents behaving quite badly through the months of lockdown.

“Obviously, last year there was a reduction. People took to just throwing stuff out in the street if you want me to be really blunt about it.

“Hopefully, when we see the next set of figures, there may be an improvement there just because people started behaving more responsibly as things opened back up.

“It may not be as stark as the figures suggest but I will speak to waste managers because there may be things in the background I am not aware of.”​​​​​​​