‘Fewer uplifts will encourage us to recycle’

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Edinburgh City Council has taken the bold step of axing weekly bin collections from September for households with wheelie bins. City centre areas which use the large black container bins are unaffected.

For many families this will be a major change. However, it is a necessary one. As a society we are simply throwing away too much rubbish.

Edinburgh City Council only recycles one third of the 220,000 tonnes of waste it handles each year, with around 150,000 tonnes going to landfill. The average Scottish local authority recycles 43.6 per cent.

Less frequent refuse collection leads people to use their recycling bins more – reducing landfill and saving the hard-pressed city council cash. In addition, local authorities are set landfill targets by the EU and taxes on this are imposed by central government. Put simply, cash that could be going to libraries and schools will be paid out in government fines unless the council acts.

A larger choice of recycling options – and more frequent collection – will be introduced to assist this process. But a carefully managed public awareness campaign is also a prerequisite to ensure families understand the change and buy into it.

Experience elsewhere suggests this can be done.

In Midlothian, a successful fortnightly collection has been in place for several years. In England there has been a backlash from some Tories about the so called “town hall Tali-bin”, leading the government to offer additional cash to councils who want to reintroduce weekly collections. The reality has been that few have taken up this offer, as the public are largely content with a system that collects recycling from the doorstep.

Concrete progress

it is a long-standing injustice that there are no statues commemorating women in Edinburgh – apart from two of the redoubtable Queen Victoria.

From Kirk rebel Jenny Geddes to medical pioneer Elsie Inglis, businesswoman and benefactor Mary Erskine to Mary Queen of Scots, women have helped shaped the city.

But it is not just these few relatively well-known figures that deserve to be remembered and celebrated. The stories of Sophia Jex-Blake, the first female to study at medical school in Britain, and Chrystal MacMillan, the first to get a medical degree, to take just two examples, are a rich part of the Capital’s heritage.

The launch of the Women of Scotland archive is one step towards righting that wrong. Hopefully it won’t be long before there is further, concrete, progress.