Colour-coded bins dumped as city shakes up recycling

A SHAKE-UP of the way Edinburgh’s waste is dealt with could see all materials for recycling being collected from one container. The city council is expected to unveil plans to part-privatise a series of its services this week.

Tuesday, 18th October 2011, 1:17 pm

Both bidders for the environmental services contract – which represents £37.5 million of spending and includes refuse collection, street cleaning, road maintenance and recycling – have proposed axing multiple recycling collections.

It would mean the end of different collections on different days for materials.

City leader Jenny Dawe believes such a change would be welcomed by residents who are concerned about the impact outsourcing could have.

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Her comments came as it emerged a report into the “alternative business models” (ABM) has found widespread scepticism about the impact the reform could have on services

Cllr Dawe said: “The interesting thing is people seem to be very keen on mixed recycling on one day, instead of having to remember red, green and blue, and I believe that is what the bidders are recommending.

“The bidders looked at in all areas are assessed for 40 per cent quality, 40 per cent cost and 20 per cent transformational change and that may allay people’s fears that it is all about cost.

“It is quite difficult to store all of the boxes and I know that I am constantly having to check when is the right time to take them out.”

Infrastructure specialist Enterprise, and a joint bid by service firm Keir Group and waste management company Shanks, are vying for the contract.

Research firm Ipsos Mori was commissioned by the city council to get feedback on people’s views on the ABM plan.

Analysis of the results indicated that people felt the proposals were motivated by cost alone, that the council would lose accountability of services and that a contract could not be terminated if the contractor was delivering a poor service – which the council says is not true.

It was also felt that companies would increase costs once they had won the contract and that it would be difficult to get complaints investigated.

However, the research also indicated the existing services could be improved and that bringing in the private sector could make services more efficient.

Cllr Dawe said: “What this [survey] confirms is what we found during the budget consultation; that all most people are concerned about is that they get a good service and they do not care who delivers it.”