THOUSANDS of spare bins could be crammed into warehouses across the Highlands if householders turn their backs on a controversial garden waste charge.
People who refuse to pay the £30 charge to have their brown bins emptied will have them taken away but with 67,000 currently receiving the service free of charge and many reluctant to pay - where will the thousands of discarded wheelie bins go?
Highland Council has said they will be stored in various depots in the region, ready to be used as replacements when needed.
The local authority has faced backlash over the plan, which will come into force in July - just three months after a council tax rise. A petition calling for the charge to be scrapped has gathered more than 1000 signatures.
Critics have said the garden waste charge should have been absorbed into this increase, which will see an annual hike of up to £600 for some.
But community services chairman Allan Henderson said the £30 charge, which he hopes will earn £660,000 for the council, is a “soft option” compared to losing teachers.
Many households in the Highlands do not currently have a separate bin for garden waste and the council is considering rolling it out in these areas, another way spare bins could be used.
A council spokeswoman said: “The council will reuse serviceable brown bins returned for new customers and will recycle those that have reached the end of their useful lives.
“Spare bins are stored at various depots throughout the Highlands.”
There was also confusion about how collectors will know who has paid the charge but last week Councillor Henderson explained large stickers will be put on the bins of those who have paid.
The council spokeswoman explained the process for collecting payment or opting out.
“Plans are being put in place for the introduction of the new brown bin charges,” she said.
“All existing brown bins users will receive a letter from the council advising them how to opt in or opt out of the service.”