FIFERS who refuse to put their rubbish in the right bins are being blamed for "seriously damaging the planet".

Councillor Ross Vettraino also called for a ban on importing packaged goods and said it was a "question for mankind".

Fife Council's environment spokesperson said the world was in danger of being buried in rubbish and pointed the finger at people who "won't abide by the rules" when it comes to recycling.

Cllr Vettraino said: "It's all down to attitude.

"I have previously spoken about attitude and its association with issues such as illegal dumping and littering in addition to failing to utilise the council’s recycling services properly and nothing has changed since I first made mention of it.

"It’s still a huge problem and, as I have previously confessed, I am at a loss to know how to improve the situation.

"How does one convince an individual that failing to separate waste is not only costing them, through the council, an awful lot of money, but is also seriously damaging the planet?"

The convener of the environment, protective services and community safety committee was responding to a question from Lib Dem councillor Jonny Tepp at the full council meeting about a national recycling scheme.

He said cost and getting all 32 local authorities to agree on one collection scheme would be problematic but added that, while the number of bins, their colour and what you put in them varies from council to council, the rules are the same for everyone.

"And they are simple rules, as they simply require the communities in Scotland to utilise properly the recycling services which are provided by every local authority," he explained.

"Whereas, therefore, there aren't any barriers to having the same recycling rules wherever one goes, as that situation already exists, there is a barrier preventing the benefits of the national uniformity being achieved and that is the attitude of the individual."

Cllr Vettraino said he suspected Cllr Tepp was also thinking about national action on "eliminating unnecessary packaging" and, where it has to be used, making it easier to recycle.

But he said "we are a long way away" from a solution and stated: "It is also the case that national uniformity will make little difference, unless we stop importing packaged goods.

"What is required is not national uniformity but international uniformity.

"What is required is for governments throughout the world or, at the very minimum, within the bloc with which we trade, to cast legislation aimed at achieving such uniformity and, while they are at it, to invest in technology whereby goods are manufactured with recycling in mind and can consequently be recycled easily and to invest also in developing markets for those recycled goods and other materials.

"If I am correct in what I am saying, then it isn’t a question for the council. It’s a question for society.

"It’s a question for mankind, on which the survival of the planet may eventually depend."