Lesley Hinds: Don’t waste chance to do your bit for environment

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Have your say

I recently spoke to a constituent who I think summed up the current weekly managed collection changes very well.

She was sceptical about the changes in her area, but then her granddaughter explained to her about the importance of recycling. She told me that she had now decided to do her bit to “save the planet”, as her granddaughter said, even though it meant changing lifelong habits. By recycling things like food waste and glass, perhaps for the first time, she became more conscious of what she was throwing away and thought twice about putting everything in the bin destined for landfill.

These small changes can and will make a significant difference to the city, and if every resident makes a few small changes we can save money and help the environment.

We have set ambitious waste disposal and recycling targets throughout Edinburgh and a key part of this is the changes to bin collection services.

Despite some inevitable teething problems, thanks to residents and staff I think we are now on the right track to meet our targets.

The fact is that our crews collect up to 90,000 bins full of waste across the city. Not only is this bad news for the environment, but it is also bad news for the taxpayer.

In the last year, the council has spent more than £13 million sending waste to landfill, some of which could be recycled. This is a substantial chunk of the council’s budget and money I believe could be put to better use.

Not only is it expensive but it is not sustainable and a missed opportunity. A lot of what ends up as landfill can be reused or recycled and should be thought of as a resource, not as waste.

In Edinburgh, we now offer services to recycle up to 70 per cent of household waste, including food, plastic bottles, paper, glass and much 
more.

I’m very pleased to see that an increasing number of residents are becoming more conscious of what they throw away and the number of requests for recycling bins is higher than ever.

I understand that there are some people who need more bin collections and some additional support to help them recycle.

We aim to be as flexible as possible and where people genuinely need more pick-ups – for example, families with lots of children, families with babies and some disabled residents – we will provide this.

In some areas it may be as simple as providing an extra bin, in others it will involve working with residents to find the best solution for them.

Big changes like the ones we have implemented rarely go perfectly the first time, but please be assured that we are addressing these issues and I am confident that in the coming days these problems will be ironed out.

I would like to thank the many residents across the city who have already added recycling to their daily routine.

Anyone who would like to find out how to join them or who is concerned about the changes to bin collections can phone 0131-529 3030. Alternatively, you can e-mail 
waste@edinburgh.gov.uk.

Small changes can make a huge 
difference.

• Councillor Lesley Hinds is the city council’s environment convener

Bin there, done that . ..

A MAJOR overhaul of refuse collection in Edinburgh got under way this month, with fortnightly uplifts replacing weekly ones for all those with green and brown wheelie bins.

Environment chiefs want to encourage more residents to recycle and separate waste into a range of bags and boxes.

However, as the News has reported in recent weeks, a range of problems have beset the system, including officials telling collectors not to take overflowing wheelie bins.

Collections of communal bisn from apartment blocks have also piled up significantly and altogether round 10 per cent of bins have gone uncollected.

Union officials at unite have also warned their members may refuse to pick up heavy bin bags from the pavement.

City leaders have insisted the issue will be resolved by this week, and that the disruption has been down to “teething problems”.