Council ‘neglects recycling’ as bottles pile up

The overflowing bottle bank at East Fettes Avenue. Picture: @Edinburghspotlight

The overflowing bottle bank at East Fettes Avenue. Picture: @Edinburghspotlight

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HUNDREDS of spent booze bottles are piling up at recycling points amid claims the city lost its grip on waste collections over the festive season.

This stark picture from East Fettes Avenue shows a bottle bank so overflowing that dozens of bags have been dumped at the jam-packed collection point in a scene described as a “mess”.

City chiefs have apologised for neglecting the recycling point but the failure comes against a backdrop of waste collection flaws over Christmas.

The News told yesterday how about eight tonnes of Christmas dinner scraps from Edinburgh had to be dumped in landfill instead of being recycled due to a “lack of appropriate storage” at the council’s Powderhall waste depot.

The botched waste collection would have cost around £800 and followed concerns over missed bin collections in Merchiston and Sciennes.

Fed-up residents challenged environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds on Twitter about the mess at East Fettes Avenue, only to be told she had previously reported it and had been “given an assurance” the bottles would be uplifted.

This prompted one Twitter user to reply: “What chance have residents got when councillors can’t get things done #spenttoomuchontrams.”

Edinburgh Conservative leader Cllr Cameron Rose said waste collections appeared to have broken down over the Christmas season, leaving the city in a “mess”.

And he suggested the city’s U-turn on privatising bin collections in 2012 – “a more efficient and better system,” according to Cllr Rose – had led to the current “poor service”.

Cllr Steve Burgess, leader of Edinburgh Greens, said the unemptied bins and overrun recycling points sent a poor message to residents.

He said: “It’s surprising the council aren’t on top of this because you would think an increase in bottles due to the New Year partying is something that would happen every year. They should be ready for the increase in demand.

“It doesn’t send a great message to the public about the council’s intention of increasing recycling rates. We’re supposed to be reaching 50 per cent this year and they need to be doing all they can to encourage people to recycle. If people are seeing large pools of uncollected bottles, then that’s not good.

“You might expect localised problems but they should be able to respond immediately. If this is a city-wide issue then maybe the council needs to look again at its planning.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Our contractor has been made aware of the issue on East Fettes Avenue and we will be discussing the matter with them further.

“We will work with them to resolve the issue as quickly as possible and would like to apologise to residents for the inconvenience this has caused.”