The recycling system which has seen city households issued with up to ten different bins, bags and boxes for their rubbish is to be scrapped.
The latest shake-up in the Capital’s waste collection system, due to start early next year, will concentrate the recycling effort on a blue box for glass and a new blue bin for all other recyclable materials.
The current arrangement of alternate weekly collections of red and blue boxes for different types of material and separate bags for papers and plastic bottles will be scrapped in a bid to simplify the system and encourage more people to recycle.
The changes were given the go-ahead by the city council’s transport and environment committee as figures showed the controversial move to fortnightly waste collections is still generating 72 complaints a day.
The new recycling system, which will cover around 140,000 homes across the Capital, is set to cost £3.3 million to introduce, but council chiefs say it will eventually save money.
Households can currently have as many as ten different containers for waste – a red box for cardboard; a blue box for glass and tins; a plastic sack for papers; another sack for plastic bottles; a bag for textiles; another for batteries; a garden waste bin; two food waste containers; and a general waste bin.
Under the new system, people will no longer have to separate all their recyclable items before putting them out for collection.
Collections of food for recycling will continue every week, but all other recycling will be collected on a fortnightly basis, alternating with general and garden waste.
Further work is planned on improving recycling arrangements in tenement areas, where changes are expected to be phased in over a longer period.
Recycling rates in the Capital are currently around 44 per cent – up from 40.9 per cent last year.
But the business case for the proposed changes says that without a new collection system, there is a “significant risk” the council will fall short of its target of recycling 50 per cent of all waste by next year.
Committee vice-convener Jim Orr said: “The environmental and financial benefits of reducing the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill, and increasing recycling instead, are now widely known.
“Recycling rates are increasing steadily but need to rise more quickly. One way to do this is to make it as easy as possible for householders to recycle, and giving them one large bin in which they can just throw in dry recycling without separating it will be a fantastic step.”
Officials say that by year two the new system will be costing £76,000 a year less than the current one and after year six it will be saving £736,000 a year.
The Tories and Lib Dems opposed the move to bring the recycling system in-house.
Tory Joanna Mowat said there were few complaints about the current service and claimed the proposed changes would not mean an improvement.
She said: “We believe the way forward to ensure best value for money for the residents of Edinburgh is to re-tender this on the open market.”
Liberal Democrat Robert Aldridge said the cost figures showed it would take ten years to return to square one financially.
Red alert for householders
SCRAPPING the system of red and blue boxes will mean thousands of redundant containers across the Capital.
The blue ones are to be used for recycling glass under the new arrangements. But what about the red?
A council spokeswoman said anyone who wanted to keep them would probably be able to, but no decision had yet been made on collecting in the rest.