"ENVIRONMENTAL VANDALS" are costing Fife Council more than £2 million a year by dumping waste into the wrong bin.

Food and garden waste put into blue bins wrongly by householders accounted for a staggering 12,000 tones in 2017 –27 per cent of Fife's total landfill waste that year, new data has revealed.

Councillor Ross Vettraino, convener of the environment, protective services and community safety committee, told the Press that those costing the public purse should be "ashamed of themselves".

"They are nothing more than environmental vandals," he said.

"They couldn't care what damage they are doing to the local economy or the environment.

"It's clearly signed what bin should be for what. They should be ashamed of themselves.

"It's costing the public purse a fortune."

The cost of food and garden waste being discarded incorrectly is costing a cash-starved council £1.1m in landfill and processing fees.

It's thought that the amount would double to £2m once you take into account the misuse of plastic and paper bins too.

Fife Council pay £91.35 per tonne in landfill tax with an additional £13 per tonne to process the waste sent to landfill.

The local authority has been campaigning in the last year to help Fifers know exactly how to recycle their waste.

This has included a social media campaign and various videos to help residents understand what goes into each bin.

Zero Waste Scotland is also working with the council to provide contamination kits.

A recycling guide has also been published and a number of workshops and drop-in sessions have been taking place since the start of the year.

"We are trying to get the message across as best as we can but it's not difficult," Cllr Vettaraino said.

"It's easy and simple what you have to put in each bin – they just don't care."

Press reader Andrew Johnston constantly witnesses people using the recycling point beside his home in Dunfermline incorrectly.

"People put food, old pans, carpets, everything in," he said.

"I was infuriated when I caught a guy putting black bins into the paper recycling.

"His attitude was disgusting; he just didn't care.

"I think it's going to take a sea change before we see any improvements.

"The council tell me it's an ongoing problem and the recycling point is not even the worst one.

"To change, I think people are going to have to be scared to put rubbish in the wrong bins."