Workers at the Blochairn recycling plant in Glasgow have raised concerns that they will not be able to meet the city council’s recycling targets unless the workforce is increased. 

During a meeting between management and GMB trade union representatives, claims were made that there were only nine members of staff when there should be 22 to deal with recycling demands.

GMB convenor Chris Mitchell also claimed that as a result waste was now ending up in landfill. 

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But Glasgow City Council has insisted that this is not the case and that waste that can’t be recycled at Blochairn will be sent to the Glasgow Renewable Energy and Recycling Centre where it will be converted into electricity.

Speaking to the LDR service, Chris Mitchell, said: “There seems to be a lack of staff at the Blochairn Recycling Plant. There were 22 people working there but they are down to nine.

“It is costing the council a fortune sending the waste to landfill or bringing private companies into deal with the waste as they don’t have enough staff physically on the belt.

“The council is currently promoting recycling and how important it is for the city. We need to save the planet and everyone has a role to play.

“But everything comes to that plant. But there are only nine members of staff and that is why waste ends up at landfill because there is not an adequate number of workers.

“It doesn’t matter how much people recycle or how much you promote it if there is not enough staff to physically deal with the demands of the job.

“The council is looking to promote further recycling by separating the cardboard from the cans, but what is the point of promoting that when you don’t actually have enough staff on the belt to process it.

“We need more staff within the Blochairn recycling plant to make this work. If there aren’t enough people there, the policy will not work.”

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Blochairn is an ageing plant and the amount of waste being sent there has reduced, with the council saying current staffing reflects the level of recyclables being managed at the plant.

A replacement facility is expected to open 2026. 

A spokesman for the council said: “The Blochairn recycling facility is approaching the end of its useful life and a replacement is being developed with the support of £17m of funding from the Scottish Government.

“The replacement facility is expected to be ready by 2026 and will include modern equipment that will maximise the return from the forthcoming changes to our recycling service.

“When separate bins for fibre and containers are introduced next year for kerbside collections, we will be using an independent contractor until the Blochairn replacement is open to ensure the wider range of materials to be collected will be properly processed in the intervening period.

“The vast majority of waste received at Blochairn is mechanically separated before it reaches the pickers lifting individual, missed items from the conveyor belts at the end of the process.

“There has also been a recent reduction in the amount of material being taken to Blochairn with recyclables also being sent to independent contractors to be separated and processed, which is the standard process at all other local authorities in Scotland.

“Waste that can’t be recycled at Blochairn will be sent to the Glasgow Renewable Energy and Recycling Centre where this waste will be converted into electricity.

“The amount of waste being landfilled has dropped significantly in recent years and that trend is predicted to continue.

“The waste that is predominantly going to landfill is badly contaminated garden waste or bulky items that cannot currently be disposed of in any other way.

“Neither of these waste streams are processed through the material reclaim facilities at Blochairn.”