BIN men are under orders to enforce the council’s controversial new fortnightly collections – by putting rubbish back in bins instead of taking it away.
It means householders who decide to leave extra black bags next to their overflowing wheelie bins will find it has been been returned to them for the next collection in two weeks’ time.
The new fortnightly collections began last week in a bid to force residents to reduce the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill.
Today the policy of returning excess rubbish to householders was branded “crazy” and “stupid”.
The row comes as evidence of unemptied bins increased across the city with councillors receiving scores of complaints about bins not being collected as scheduled. The council said shift patterns for the bin crews had changed and residents were still getting used to putting out their rubbish on the correct day.
The council said while the new system is bedding in, it would allow bin crews to remove extra bags of rubbish but would give residents warning notices.
A council source said: “We could quite easily take the bags away, but that would just encourage people to put out more waste the next time.
“There is a set amount of rubbish you can put in your wheelie bin. All across the country, that’s perfectly standard. You can’t put out more than you are allocated.
“We will empty your bin, but we won’t take away black bin bags which are excess waste. After the first couple of times, we will put it back in the wheelie bin.”
Persistent offenders could then face a fine of £50.
Tory councillor Jason Rust said: “It does seem crazy to have a system of putting rubbish back into the bin.
“To a lot of people, refuse collection is a key, identifiable service they get for their council tax.
“If they are getting their rubbish handed back they will feel the council is not giving them a proper service.”
He said there was no way of ensuring whether the bags and the bins had been put out by the same people.
“You could have people dumping a bag next to a bin which has nothing to do with them.”
Norman Tinlin, secretary of Fairmilehead community council, said bin men putting excess rubbish back into wheelie bins was “stupid” and predicted an increase in refuse on the street.
He said: “Officials told us that for the first two collections they will uplift what they call side waste, but after that they won’t.
“It will backfire on the council and the streets will be dirtier than they are at the moment.”
Council environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “We will obviously give people time to get used to the new arrangements and have been providing advice and support to residents over the last few weeks.
“We’re confident that residents are on board with the changes, although our recycling advisers will continue to be out and about on the street to advise people on how to reduce their landfill waste.
“As is standard across the country, we will take action against those who persistently dump excess rubbish on the street. However, while the new changes are bedding in we will be understanding and supportive. If anyone has any issues or is seeking advice, we would ask them to contact the council on 0131-529 3030.”