Residents padlocking bins to stop fly-tippers

Some people in the city have taken to padlocking their bin. Picture: contributed
Some people in the city have taken to padlocking their bin. Picture: contributed
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Residents fed up with people sneaking rubbish into their bins are now starting to padlock them.

The big bin lock-up prevents sneaky fly-tippers from dumping their excess bin bags in other peoples’ wheelies.

The trend, anecdotally growing in popularity across the Capital, is a direct response to the hard line taken on bins being left ajar . . . and therefore not being collected.

Casino Worker Mark Pearson has signed up to the siege mentality. He has fitted his bin with a chain and padlock after getting fed up with it not being collected because of overflow caused by his neighbours sneaking their bags in with his.

The keen recycler at first couldn’t understand how his bin was becoming so stuffed.

The 28-year-old, of Telford Road, Inverleith, said: “I thought it was really strange – I could see that my bin was starting to overflow, but I recycle religiously so I barely put anything in it. When I looked inside I could see all these black bags, but I only use clear ones, so I knew it had to be my neighbours.”

He was inspired to fit the padlock after seeing a neighbour take similar measures.

“The man who lived in the flat downstairs used to padlock his bin. He’s moved away and he took the padlock with him, so now his old bin is overflowing too, even though no one actually lives in that house now. I put the chain on about a week ago – my neighbours came out to watch me doing it, and they were laughing at me. I asked them what other choice they had left me with and they didn’t have much to say to that.

“At the moment my bin has only one bag in it. All theirs are overflowing and it’s still eight days to go until collection.”

News of Mark’s bin adjustments came as the council announced the amount of household rubbish being recycled in the city is increasing. There has been a drop of at least 7000 tonnes of waste from the same period last year – a fall of six per cent, 
leading to a projected 9700-tonne reduction by the end of the financial year. Recycling has also increased by more than 6000 tonnes, or eight per cent.

A spokesperson at Zero Waste Scotland said: “It’s great to see residents in Edinburgh reducing their waste and recycling more, and I hope we’ll continue to see this improve.”

However, not everyone is getting the message. Mark continued: “What really irritates me is that so much of the stuff these people are just throwing away could easily be recycled – there is no need for all this waste. There is a recycling point at the end of the street.”

A spokesman for Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (TRIM), who have spoken out about their problem with fly-tipping, said they “agree” with Mr Pearson’s action. A spokesman said: “Many residents have already been issued with warnings. It is impossible to manage when residents reside in flats. Should the council ­provide locks for all?”

The council have announced that to encourage recycling people who keep leaving out extra bags will be fined £50.

Conservative Councillor Iain Whyte said elected members are aware the fear of fines could lead to extreme bin-protecting measures.

He said: “This is exactly the sort of thing my group colleagues were raising yesterday at the council meeting – that people could be penalised and have problems having bins collected because of things that were not their fault.”

Bin there, done that

IF you feel your bin could do with some added protection from unwelcome dumping, taking steps to protect it are likely to work out a lot cheaper than a £50 fine.

Mark said: “All it really took was a wee bit of elbow grease. I knocked a hole in the top with a hammer and then fed the chain and the padlock through. Those items cost me a pound each from a local DIY store, so it really wasn’t that difficult and in no way expensive.”

Though bins are technically council property, a citizen would be unlikely to be penalised if they decided to secure their own bin.

A council spokesperson said: “In these circumstances if a resident chooses to padlock their bin the council would not take action unless by doing so the bin has become damaged to the point of being unusable.”