First for Fife as Scottish Government Funding improves plastics recycling

Recycling logoFife Council has been awarded £470,000 from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund to develop plastic film recycling services locally, from March 2022.

Enhanced sorting will continue to see Fife delivering high quality material into the marketplace, while offering comprehensive recycling services to residents. By fully reprocessing the material in Fife, this will ensure that local jobs are created and supported for local people.

Fife Council was awarded the money, and the project will be delivered by Arm’s Length External Organisation, Cireco. Fife is the first council in Scotland to offer this service, continuing Fife Council’s and Cireco's commitment to do more locally to help combat the global climate emergency.

Cllr Ross Vettraino, Convener - Environment, Protective Services, said: “The Council is very pleased to have been awarded this funding, which will ensure that Fife residents will have more opportunity than ever to recycle their waste. Fife will be the first Council in Scotland with the ability to accept flexible plastics (plastic film) at the kerbside for recycling.

"Currently, plastic film is a contaminant, as it cannot be recycled, and must be removed and sent to landfill thereby incurring additional cost by way of separation, haulage, disposal and landfill tax.  From March next year, however, plastic film can be deposited in the green bins and will be collected at the kerbside and reprocessed at the Council’s recycling facility in Dunfermline. Not only will this be a financial saving and a huge boost to recycling in Fife, it will be another positive step towards a circular economy.”

The £470k will fund a ‘Tomra Optical Sorter’ that will segregate flexible plastics (plastic film) from plastics and cans collection.  From March 2022 the flexible plastics will be diverted from landfill and will go to local markets for recycling into new products. This means a far higher percentage of our collected cans and plastics will be recycled.

Plastic film is currently a contaminant waste that makes up about 20% of the current recycling waste collected.  The main saving from the scheme is a reduction in the costs of landfill tax, a cost avoidance of over £100k each year.

The Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund invites applications from all local authorities in Scotland to submit projects to improve services and treatment infrastructure. The fund aims to help communities move to a more circular economy, where materials and products are kept in use for as long as possible, and where new economic opportunities and social benefits flourish, as we move away from short-term, wasteful, throwaway approaches It also encourages partnership project proposals from local authorities with the private and third sectors.

Zero Waste Scotland is administering the Recycling Improvement Fund, which is set to transform Scotland’s recycling infrastructure.