What a load of rubbish - Edinburgh New Town is set to lose its gull-proof bin bags

Edinburgh’s upmarket New Town residents are in revolt over plans to do away with the ‘gull-proof bin bags’ commonly used in the area, and replace them with communal bins.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 12:30 pm

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.Councillors have been asked to approve moving city centre and Inverleith neighbourhood bin collections to ‘on-street communal bins’ - rather than the individual collection of gull-proof bags currently in place.

These properties in the city centre and Inverleith also have individual recycling boxes, for mixed recycling (red) and glass/small electrical items (blue), as do some properties that useon-street bins for non-recyclable waste.

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Communal bins can be a magnet for scavenging gulls
Communal bins can be a magnet for scavenging gulls

Other properties across Edinburgh use black bags for non-recyclable waste and the recycling box service.

The report reads: “Reusable gull-proof bags have been used for properties in parts of the city centre and Inverleith wards since 2011 to dispose of non-recyclable waste at the kerbside.

“These properties present (red and blue) boxes separately at the kerbside for recycling.

“The monitoring report shows medium to low presentation rates for both GPBs and recycling boxes.

Binned: Seagull-proof sacks

“Lower GPBs presentation rates are generally associated with proximity to on-street communal bins which can cause overflowing waste issues at these locations.

“In some cases, residents appear to be using the communal bins instead of their GPBs and recycling services.

“The conclusion of the monitoring review is the recommendation that GPBs and the kerbside recycling box scheme are replaced with on-street communal bins, as part of fully integrated waste and recycling ‘hubs’, following the previously agreed standardised parameters.”

However, New Town and Broughton Community Council representatives have reacted with anger at the plans, which would bring them in line with the rubbish collection service throughout the rest of the capital.

Appearing before the transport and environment committee, the chair of the community council, Carol Nimmo, said: “There has been absolutely no warning to New Town and Broughton Community Council, local residents and gull-proof bag users that this recommendation would be coming before the committee today.

“As the community council most affected by this change we would have expected a higher level of engagement before any recommendations would be brought before the committee.

“The removal of gull-proof bags and the red/blue bins for recycling is a major change of policy but is just tagged on to a routine update about the communal bin review.

“There has been no prior notification or engagement with the community council most affected by this change despite several requests for updates from the waste and cleansing department.”

Ms Nimmo also went on to ask that the council does not approve the decision to take away the New Town’s gull-proof bags, and instead consult with residents first. This was backed by a Conservative amendment, put forward by Liberton and Gilmerton councillor Stephanie Smith.

However, the committee voted by seven votes to four to continue with the changes.

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