Recycling will end if bins aren’t emptied on time, council told

Picture: Jon Savage
Picture: Jon Savage
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RESIDENTS have warned that they could be forced to give up recycling because their bins keep going uncollected for weeks on end.

The Evening News revealed last month that more than 120 complaints were being made to the city council every day over uncollected rubbish.

It undermines the whole policy of recycling – if people cannot have confidence in the collections, recycling is going to drop off.

Robert Kirkwood

The figure included failed pick-ups of household wheelie bins, recycling, food waste and on-street communal bins.

Residents who complained were told there had been problems over the festive period because of higher than expected demand for recycling and a shortage of staff.

But Robert Kirkwood, chair of Leith Links residents association, said the problem had still not been sorted out.

He said: “I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from residents saying that their recycling bins haven’t been getting emptied.

“They say their bins are going weeks without being collected. One even said theirs hadn’t been emptied for two months.

“I’ve been told over Christmas recycling was up and there weren’t enough drivers, but it’s been going on well after the Christmas period – it’s just total disorganisation.

“It undermines the whole policy of recycling – if people cannot have confidence in the collections, recycling is going to drop off.”

One resident in Summerfield Place, Leith Links, said: “I’ve had to report bins not being collected four times since November.

“They’re very narrow streets round here so the bins can block the pavements if they are left out for days, but if people take them back in they will miss the collection.”

Chas Booth, Green councillor for Leith, said changes to the recycling system seemed to have left some residents without an adequate service.

He said: “I’ve had complaints from people about the changeover from the red and blue recycling boxes which have been withdrawn and sometimes there has been inadequate or non-existent replacement.

“It’s essential we get the service right and make it as easy as possible for people to recycle and get their bins collected on time.

“The litany of complaints there have been in the past year shows the council has a lot more to do on this.”

Environment convenor Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “We are aware of the issues in the Leith Links area and are in direct contact with the Leith Links Residents Association about their concerns.”

She added: “There are often challenges with gaining access to particular streets but we are committed to working with the residents association to solve this.

“We are committed to providing an efficient recycling and waste service in Edinburgh.

“We have worked hard to correct any missed collections and with our ‘Save time, do it online’ campaign we have been encouraging people who experience issues with bin collections to report them online so that these can be sorted out as quickly as possible.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com