Food waste bins to be removed from Glasgow flats in new trial

Glasgow City Council has announced the trialled removal of communal food waste bins from flats in the north west of the city from Monday (10 August) in a bid to reduce contamination of food waste.

The trial is expected to last for eight weeks and results from the test period will be used to inform the subsequent delivery of the service across the whole city.

Food waste bins to be removed from Glasgow flats in new trialIn February, the council launched a review of food waste recycling for flats and tenements following concerns over the effectiveness of the service. The review revealed that 30 per cent of grey food waste bins in bin courts of blocks of flats and tenements were contaminated with other kinds of rubbish, such as black bin bags, preventing the waste from being reprocessed once collected.

Contaminated food waste bins incur an additional cost for the council, as the bin has to be processed as general waste instead.

The review also found difficulties in access to backcourts, which creates a safety risk for cleansing crews. In light of these findings, 2,500 food waste bins have been removed from bin courts across north west Glasgow. 4,500 bins have been retained at addresses with a good record of food recycling, unless issues with access to particular bin courts have been identified.

Residents who still wish to recycle their food waste will be able to access a network of public food waste bins, at 200 sites across the north west of the city.

Prior to this, the food waste service for flats and tenements was placed under a city-wide suspension as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with residents being asked to use their general waste bin for food waste. Whilst the trial service will begin for those in the north west of the city, food waste collections will remain suspended for flatted properties in Glasgow North East and Glasgow South.

Commenting on the trial, a spokesman for the council said: “There has been a disappointing uptake of the food waste service for flatted properties since its introduction in 2016. Very low levels of food waste are eventually recycled and bins are frequently spoiled with other kinds of waste, which then makes it significantly more expensive to process.

“Resolving issues with contaminated food bins takes up significant time and resources and impacts upon the effectiveness of the wider cleansing service. By providing publicly-sited bins for addresses where there have been significant on-going problems, we are aiming to minimise the issue of contamination and ensure as much food waste can be reprocessed as possible.

“Improved recycling rates for food waste will be good for the environment and good value for the council tax payer. We are also hopeful that removing those bins leads to improvements in backcourt areas.”

However, Labour Councillor Paul Carey, representing the Drumchapel/Anniesland ward, criticised the council’s decision. Speaking to the Clydebank Post, he said: “I find it incredible that the council is taking 2,500 food waste bins away and replacing them with this pilot project, which will put these industrial waste bins back on the streets.

“These bins will probably attract vermin and as for the council giving the excuse that they are replacing the 2,500 bins due to a health and safety issue for workers is ridiculous.”

For more information on the trial, you can visit the council’s website.