No recycling in place for school kitchens

Melanie Main. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Melanie Main. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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SCHOOL dining rooms and kitchens across the Capital are still without a standard service for sorting and recycling rubbish – 18 months after national rules which demand it came into force.

Parents and environmental leaders said the lack of facilities “beggared belief” given wider progress towards making classrooms more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

New regulations were brought in on January 1 last year under which all organisations are required to separate different types of rubbish for recycling.

Failure to adhere carries the risk of “substantial fines”, eco-campaigners have warned.

But although some schools have introduced their own arrangements, the council has yet to agree and finance a city-wide system.

Mum Emma McCallum, 44, whose three children attend Craiglockhart Primary, said she became aware that her school did not have facilities during a recent fair.

She said: “I was in charge of running a cafe from the school kitchen and that’s when I realised there was no proper recycling – I was just really surprised.

“I know local authorities are under great pressure to increase recycling and I would have thought this would be an easy target. I’m incredulous that they’ve dragged their feet on something so simple.”

Senior figures within Edinburgh’s Green group have called for the introduction of recycling over the summer holiday.

Councillor Melanie Main, the party’s education spokeswoman, said: “For years now our schools have been winning flags in the Eco Programme, helping our children build positive life-long habits.

“It beggars belief that the council, 18 months after the rules changed, still have not done something as basic as providing segregated recycling in school dining rooms and kitchens. It’s not rocket science. It’s what the council expects all of us to do at home and it’s time the council put its own house in order.”

City leaders said questionnaires had been sent out and a working group established in a bid to introduce a standard rubbish management system.

A spokeswoman said: “Waste disposal in school buildings is currently the responsibility of each individual school.

“However, we are in the process of establishing what arrangements are in place across all schools with a view to developing a unified service across all council buildings.

“This will help to ensure that all of our properties are fully compliant with changes to waste regulations and help us to reach our recycling targets.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com