Recycling rates double after city rubbish shake-up

Rebecca McCombe and daughter Naomi, eight, do their bit as they recycle in the old landfill bins.  Picture: Ian Georgeson
Rebecca McCombe and daughter Naomi, eight, do their bit as they recycle in the old landfill bins. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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RECYCLING rates in the Capital have doubled in the past year following the shake-up of rubbish collections which included halving the size of wheelie bins for household waste.

The city council hailed the figures as a major success and praised residents for helping to make Edinburgh a “cleaner, greener” place to live.

These figures are a testament to the commitment of residents to recycling

Lesley Hinds

There was controversy when the new smaller wheelie bins were first unveiled because they could only hold five bags of rubbish from a typical 30-litre kitchen bin compared with the eight held by the previous wheelie bins.

Thousands of homes across the city were given the new 140-litre bins for landfill waste, and told to use their larger 240-litre bins for mixed recycling, replacing red recycling boxes.

In January, the council said the switch had resulted in an 85 per cent increase in recycling. Now the latest figures show the increase at 102 per cent.

The final phase of the arrangement is due to be rolled out by September, when all homes with wheelie bins will be covered by it.

Meanwhile, a separate pilot scheme, being trialled in Hillside and Bellevue, sees tenements which already have giant communal bins for household waste being provided with a second communal bin for all recycling material except glass.

Figures show recycling in the pilot areas up by 170 per cent in just a few months and the scheme is now expected to be extended to tenements throughout the Capital.

Environment leader Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “These figures are hugely encouraging and are a testament to the commitment of Edinburgh residents to recycling.

“This is helping us to send less waste to landfill sites, which is very costly and harms the environment.

“By the end of September our new recycling service for wheelie bin users will have been rolled out across the whole city. I am in one of the last areas to receive the new service and am looking forward to being able to recycle even more than I do now.”

Councils are required to meet tough Scottish Government targets for cutting the amount of waste they send to landfill and face large fines if they fall short.

The shake-up of the Capital’s rubbish collections follows the controversial switch from weekly to fortnightly collections for general refuse in late 2012.

The Evening News previously revealed how Edinburgh’s failure to meet the government recycling targets was costing the city council nearly £1 million in landfill tax fines.

The achievements of the tenement recycling trial were welcomed by Cllr Hinds.

She said: “Our pilot tenement project has also been extremely successful. It provides mixed recycling bins, which helps to reduce the amount of sorting needed.

“This has led to an increase in the recycling rate in the participating areas of 170 per cent, which is a tremendous achievement. Thanks to its success we are now looking to extend it to other areas of the city.

“I would like to thank residents for the changes they are making every day to help us recycle more and make Edinburgh a cleaner, greener place to live.”