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Daily Record
Daily Record
Kathryn Anderson

Perth and Kinross generated 117,692 tonnes of general waste from 2020 to 2022

A new study has revealed Perth and Kinross Council amassed 117,692 tonnes of general waste from 2020 to 2022.

A study by Envirovue showed PKC as having generated the second largest amount of landfill waste in Scotland and eighth in the UK list.

But PKC rubbished the statistics as "without substance" due to the small fraction of councils that actually responded to Envirovue's Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

FOIs were sent to 424 UK councils. PKC was one of only 45 councils which responded.

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: "Based on the limited UK-wide response Envirovue received to their FOI request, there is insufficient data to accurately compare local authorities’ performance. Almost 90 per cent of councils did not respond to the FOI request, therefore any statements based on such a small number of councils are without substance."

However director at Envirovue Daniel Redfern thinks the vast amount of general waste being thrown into landfill is cause for concern.

He said: "Businesses, individuals, and councils across the UK should be really concerned about what happens to waste in landfill because the process is a major source of pollutants and contributes to global warming. It produces toxins, leachate, and greenhouse gases which pollute our planet, and it’s currently doing so at an alarming rate.

"If businesses put the environment first and commit to working with a sustainable waste management company, sustainability metrics will be improved by increasing recycling rates as well as reducing and automatically offsetting emissions, and in the long run, it would help to achieve their zero-to-landfill targets."

However PKC has enforced a somewhat militant "Stick to Six" campaign to cut down the amount of non-recyclables in blue-lidded bins. This has led to contaminated recycling bins being tagged and left unemptied or - in some cases of repeat offending - bins being confiscated.

But PKC insists its general waste has not increased "significantly" as a result of its crackdown on contaminated recycling items in residents' blue-lidded bins. PKC said it was in the top ten for recycling in Scotland.

The spokesperson said: "All Scottish councils are required to report their waste and recycling statistics annually to SEPA, and from that data, Perth and Kinross Council remains within the top 10 in Scotland for recycling rates.

"While our area did see a dip in recycling levels in 2020-2021 - primarily as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - so did many other UK local authorities. We continue to operate our kerbside waste and recycling services for both domestic and commercial customers covering 100 bin routes and over 100,000 uplifts per week and alongside this, a range of initiatives have been running during the past two years to increase recycling and reduce contamination through educating residents, such as ‘Stick to the Six’.

"These have already shown positive results, with contamination levels dropping from 28 per cent to 18 per cent. The support of householders is greatly appreciated in working to improve the situation. Residual (general) waste has additionally shown no significant increase in garden waste content. Less than half of all waste generated in Perth and Kinross currently goes to landfill."

Climate Change and Sustainability Committee convener Richard Watters said PKC recently received a funding boost to improve its recycling. He unveiled plans to introduce separate recycling for paper/card and plastic/metal/carton collections this year and expand the range of recycling materials accepted in kerbside collections.

The SNP councillor said: "In July 2022 we were awarded £2.72million from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund (RIF) to raise recycling rates, increase participation in kerbside collections, improve the quality of recycling and, importantly, help us achieve net zero. This funding will support a new twin-stream recycling service introducing separate paper/card and plastic/metal/carton collections in 2023 to around 73,000 properties across Perth and Kinross.

"The funding will also give us the opportunity to look at expanding the range of materials that can be collected kerbside for recycling, such as soft and flexible plastics, and help residents with the transition to the national Deposit Return Scheme.

"The RIF award has additionally contributed to the roll out of dry mixed recycling and food waste recycling to over 1000 households in Perth city centre in 2022, all of which contributes positively to sustainability locally. I would urge all residents and businesses to work with the council and to maximise the amount of recycling that we do."

The committee vice-convener Liz Barrett thanked residents for recycling and the Liberal Democrat councillor added: "As well as using recycling facilities, we can all help by reducing the volume of plastics and other non-recyclables that we buy in the first place. We can reuse things, and support charity shops and organisations like Starter Packs, who provide household goods to those just starting in a new home. There are lots of useful tips on Perth and Kinross Climate Action’s website"

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