FAILING to put waste in the correct bins led to Fifers throwing away nearly £2 MILLION last year.

That’s the claim of Fife Liberal Democrats’ community safety spokesperson Councillor Margaret Kennedy, who claimed figures revealed that around half of rubbish sent to landfill in 2016 could have been recycled.

“According to Fife Council’s environmental service, around 48,000 tonnes of material, incurring £4.4m in charges, was put in the blue landfill bins in 2016, of which around half could have gone into kerbside recycling bins,” she said.

“That recyclable waste incurred landfill tax and gate fees of £1.63m. Had it been recycled, the bill would have been £2.77m rather than £4.4m.

"Effectively, Fifers threw away nearly £2m into landfill sites which could have been used to provide vital council services.”

From the waste which went to landfill, 25 per cent was waste food which could have gone into brown bins, 19 per cent was cans and plastics which could have been put in green bins while eight per cent was paper and cardboard which could have been collected in grey bins.

The council says rubbish is also being placed in the wrong bins. More than 3,400 tonnes of waste from brown bins – that’s nearly 10 per cent of the contents of all brown bins in Fife – had to be landfilled in 2016 while 529 tonnes of incorrect waste was found in grey bins – a contamination rate of more than 3.5 per cent.

Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of Fife Council’s environment, protective services and community safety committee, said the cost of separating out and disposing of incorrect items in recycling bins was increasing for councils: “If the contamination of the recycling bins is reduced, then more waste can be sent for recycling, less waste would have to be landfilled and there would be huge savings in Landfill Tax, which could be used to improve services.

"When recycling bins become contaminated it often means that some or all of what is in the bin cannot be recycled.

"This spoils the excellent efforts most people are making in separating their household waste and means that the council has additional costs to dispose of it in landfill."