HELENSBURGH and Lomond is bucking the latest recycling trend after a report revealed it’s the only part of Argyll and Bute where less waste is going to landfill.

According to newly-released figures, 53 per cent of Helensburgh and Lomond’s rubbish went for recycling in 2019, compared to 50.2 per cent the year before.

For Argyll and Bute as a whole, 51.6 per cent of rubbish across the area went to landfill last year, compared to 51.2 per cent in 2018.

Though recycling has also increased at island sites, from 38.7 per cent to 44.4 per cent, Helensburgh and Lomond is the only one of Argyll and Bute Council’s four administrative areas where more than half of all waste is being sent for recycling.

But at least part of the reason for Helensburgh and Lomond doing so well is that glass recycling has been brought in-house and is now handled at the town’s Blackhill recycling site.

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That step was taken after the collapse in 2018 of the previous contractor, Greenlight Environmental in Alexandria.

The report was compiled for meetings of two of Argyll and Bute’s four area committees last week – Bute and Cowal on Tuesday, and Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay on Wednesday – though it’s thought likely that the same report will also be discussed at the Helensburgh and Lomond area committee meeting on September 17.

It reveals that 45.3 per cent of all Helensburgh and Lomond’s waste was recycled and composted last year, while 7.8 per cent was recovered, and 47 per cent went to landfill.

In the report, executive director Kirsty Flanagan said: “The overall recycling, composting and recovery percentage figures are similar in 2019 to those in 2018. 2020 figures are expected to be lower due to recycling service suspension during Covid lockdown.

“Landfill costs in Landfill Tax alone is around £90 per tonne for every tonne disposed of in landfill.

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“The council waste PPP combined recycled, composted and recovery has decreased from 49.6 per cent in 2018 to 46.6 per cent in 2019.

“This is mainly due to changes in the glass collection following the previous service supplier going into administration.

“This service is now self-delivered by the council and most of the glass has been counted through the council site at Blackhill, Helensburgh for onward recycling.

“This has therefore increased the figures relative to Helensburgh and Lomond.”

However, a separate council report backs up Ms Flanagan’s forecast that 2020 recycling figures are likely to be lower because of the lockdown.

Updating members of the council’s climate change environmental action group, executive director Douglas Hendry says that recycling rates from April to June of this year were down nearly 14 per cent on the same period in 2019.

Kerbside recycling collections were suspended for most of that time and household waste recycling centres, including the Blackhill site, were closed until June 1.

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