New complaint about city’s overflowing bins every ten minutes

Overflowing bin at Princes Street Gardens East. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Overflowing bin at Princes Street Gardens East. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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MISSED bin collections across the Capital are getting better – but they still sparked more than 19,000 complaints in the first five months of the year.

That’s a significant improvement on last year, when complaints were closer to 25,000, or one every eight minutes. Complaints now average one every 11 minutes.

Nevertheless, City Centre Tory councillor Joanna Mowat claimed Edinburgh’s refuse service had still not recovered from the change to fortnightly collections.

The latest figures show a total of 19,013 complaints about missed domestic bin collections between January and May this year, compared with 24,869 in the same period last year. That means a drop from 1243 per week to 950.

Cllr Mowat said despite the improvement on 2016 figures, complaints were not back down to 2015 levels.

She said: “There is still a lot of work to do. We are over a year on from the introduction of the waste improvement plan and although it has improved a bit it is still a problem.

“We have not got an answer to what is not working.”

The figures show that for May, complaints were down around a quarter between 2016 and 2017 – from 4016 to 3063 – but this May’s were still about 500 above the number in May 2015.

A week-by-week breakdown shows the highest number of complaints so far this year was in the second week of January – when there were a total of 1633. There is often excess rubbish at the start of the year because of Christmas.

And the lowest number of complaints 600 in the week ending May 26.

Businesses and residents around Morrison Street in the city centre are among those who have complained about bins not being collected.

Clare Maloney, of Copy Stop in Morrison Street, even found a discarded leg of lamb close to overflowing communal domestic waste bins in nearby Chuckie Pend.

Last year the council launched a 65-point action plan in response to the Evening News’ Bin Watch campaign.

Environment convener Lesley Macinnes said waste collection was a key issue for the council and it was working hard to improve the service.

She said: “While it is unacceptable that the public should need to contact us about a missed bin, I am pleased to see the number of complaints continue to drop compared to last year.

“Since then we have taken a number of steps to address the issue, and have pulled together a Waste and Cleansing Action Plan which tackles everything from traders’ misuse of communal bins to improved staff training and our routing system.

“It’s also worth noting that our hard-working refuse staff make around 26 million waste collections every year so these complaints equate to only 0.2 per cent of these. That said, we still recognise this is a key issue for residents and will continue to prioritise its resolution to ensure missed bin complaints drop further year on year.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com