RECYCLING in the Borders could be “significantly improved” if residents reduced the amount of recyclable waste placed in black bins, a senior councillor has outlined.

In 2022, the council achieved a recycling rate of 57.3 per cent, which was the second highest in Scotland, and well above the national average of 43 per cent.

Despite that, the rate could be improved still further if householders change their actions, according to Leaderdale and Melrose councillor Jenny Linehan, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for environment and transport.

Ms Linehan was responding to a question posed by fellow councillor Drummond Begg, a representative of Tweeddale West, at a meeting of the full council on Thursday (April 25).

She said: “The recycling rate of 57.3 per cent is excellent news but our recycling could be significantly improved if we reduced the amount of recyclable waste in the general waste bin.

“To put this into perspective, recent analysis has indicated that around 70 per cent of the average household general waste bin could have been recycled through pre-existent council services.

“That said, it is crucial that the correct items are placed in the recycling bin – the blue bin – and that they are free of contamination.

“That means they need to be clean and food free. Failure to do so means the material quality is reduced, or worse, it cannot be recycled.

“Regen, who process our kerbside recycling, has confirmed that aluminium foil must be clean and food free.

“That means grease, oil or food debris should be removed before placing it in the blue bin.

“It is possible to clean aluminium foil either for recycling or reuse but we appreciate this may not be a step for most residents.

“Regen have also confirmed there is no need to scrunch aluminium foil into a fist-sized ball.”

Mr Begg suggested carrying out a survey to highlight the uncertainties residents have over recycling.