Charities could be asked to help council clean up Edinburgh

Fly-tipping has become a major problem in North Leith Sands, Edinburgh. Pictured is some of the mess alongside the CCLASP charity's warehouse and AXL Couriers depot. Picture: Jane Barlow
Fly-tipping has become a major problem in North Leith Sands, Edinburgh. Pictured is some of the mess alongside the CCLASP charity's warehouse and AXL Couriers depot. Picture: Jane Barlow
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CHARITIES may be drafted in to help with special uplifts under the latest moves to tackle Edinburgh’s rubbish problems.

The plan would see voluntary organisations involved in furniture recycling take on the job of picking up bulky items which people are throwing out. They could then decide whether they were suitable for re-use or refurbishment or take them to landfill.

A feasibility study for the council found voluntary organisations were interested in taking part in the scheme.

But a report to the city council’s environment committee said there were concerns about whether they had the capacity to undertake the role.

“No one voluntary sector organisation has the available capacity to deliver the service,” it noted.

The council’s website already offers people seeking a special uplift the opportunity to contact a recycling charity to see if their item might be wanted. But the charities operate strict quality and safety standards and many items can be rejected.

It is understood if the new scheme went ahead a financial agreement would be negotiated between the council and the voluntary sector to run the service, which would also cover landfill charges for those items not suitable for recycling.

Special uplifts have increased since the cost was cut to £5 per item in January. There were 1645 collections in August compared with 705 in August last year, while reports of fly-tipping declined from 809 to 446.

Green environment spokesman Steve Burgess said: “It would be really good if more furniture was recycled and used again. The concern would be whether there was the capacity in the voluntary sector to offer a comprehensive 
service to people. What we don’t want is furniture lying about in the streets.”

Conservative environment spokesman Nick Cook said: “This move by the council to quietly draft in the support of the voluntary sector will raise more than a few eyebrows. The council continues to claim that its ‘in-house’ waste collection services are managing just fine. But this move to draft in outside help demonstrates otherwise.”

The council says it has now delivered on 56 of the 65 points in its waste action plan published last year.

Environment convener Lesley Macinnes said: “We are still very much committed to pushing forward with the remaining actions, including proposals to reduce fly-tipping by improving our special uplift service.

“We’re also keen to work more closely with the voluntary sector, and organisations that would benefit from unwanted furniture or be able to find ways to recycle or 
refurbish it.”

iswanson@edinburghnews.com