‘Intelligent’ bins considered in refuse overhaul

The council are considering 'smart bins' as part of an overhaul of refuse services.
The council are considering 'smart bins' as part of an overhaul of refuse services.
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SMART bins which muffle the sound of breaking glass bottles and ask to be emptied are being considered by Edinburgh City Council.

The ‘intelligent’ dustbins could replace the current black tenement street carts, which have drawn criticism from residents disturbed by the noise from breaking drink bottles.

The bins are fitted with sensors which alert bin men when they are full – and are similar to smart card-operated trade waste bins in use on Rose Street.

The receptacles work by triggering weight-sensitive pressure sensors.

They also come with noise damping insulation mats fitted to the floor and walls of the bin.

The Evening News can reveal they are being considered ahead of a complete overhaul of the Capital’s refuse services after an ambitious 50 per cent recycling target was missed. The council achieved a 39.8 per cent rate of recycling for the April 2013 to January 2014 period.

The failure has prompted the wide-ranging revamp.

Homeowners, who are currently issued with up to ten different bins, bags and boxes for their rubbish will see the system scrapped and simplified this summer with just a single blue recycling bin and single blue glass box being issued.

It is estimated that these changes will lead to a five per cent increase in the overall recycling rate.

The new bin technology will be rolled out this summer as part of a pilot

Affecting only those living in tenements, the nine-month long test schemes will be carried out at, as yet, undetermined spots.

The first pilot will see the glass muffling bins rolled out. Pilot two will see a role reversal between the large 3200 litre side-loading black bins for landfill waste and the smaller 1200 litre wheeled recycle bin.

The large bin will be used to collect mixed dry recyclables, with the smaller being used for landfill – again a separate bin for glass will be provided.

City leaders are hopeful this will also result in a five per cent upswing in recycling rates, enabling them to reach their 50 per cent target next year.

Transport and environment convenor Lesley Hinds is “confident” that the scenes of chaos witnessed the last time the city’s refuse services were overhauled can be avoided.

The switch to fortnightly collections in September 2012 resulted in up to 72 complaints a day being logged. Cllr Hinds said: “We’re trying to provide better recycling facilities for the public and by doing that we hope it will encourage more people to 
recycle.”

david.oleary@edinburghnews.com