MORE than half of city businesses don’t have systems in place to deal with their rubbish, new figures reveal.
A crack team of council enforcers set up earlier this month to combat the scourge of illegal waste dumping has discovered only 41 per cent of shops and restaurants currently comply with regulations.
Of 191 premises inspected in the last few weeks, only 79 could produce a trade waste contract to prove they get rid of refuse in the correct manner.
City bosses said they were “very surprised” by the scale of the issue, which they blame for contributing to the Capital’s ongoing litter troubles.
They previously argued the “illegal disposal of trade waste” was one of the key issues causing communal bins to overflow.
More than 57,700 complaints were lodged with the council about missed or overflowing bins between July 2015 and July this year, figures show.
The council stopped uplifting business waste in July, forcing shops to find private collection companies.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, insisted “all businesses have a legal responsibility to dispose of their waste responsibly”.
She added: “The team’s initial focus has been to visit commercial properties in areas that are served by communal bins, to identify any businesses that are using those to dispose of their waste.
“By issuing warnings and in some cases fines we hope to see a vast improvement in these areas. Of course many businesses have passed the inspection with flying colours and are to be thanked. They must however be frustrated themselves when they see other businesses who don’t comply.
“I am writing to Essential Edinburgh, the Federation of Small Businesses and other relevant responsible organisations to discuss how we can support responsible businesses and also best work together to ensure that the highest standards of cleanliness are achieved and maintained on the streets of Edinburgh.”
The council’s new “waste compliance team” consists of six staff and was set up on September 5. It has so far issued four £200 fines to businesses for illegally dumping waste on the street.
Those that can’t produce a trade waste contract are given seven days to put one in place before facing prosecution.
First Coast restaurant on Dalry Road passed the inspection with flying colours.
Assistant manager Sarah Lauener said: “When the legislation was first brought in we put a lot of effort into getting our collections organised with Changeworks Recycling and since then it has been easy to stay compliant.”