Comment: Most do their bit, but it’s not enough

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The empty bottles and tins are getting washed out and the old newspapers piled up alongside the flattened cardboard boxes.

Our kitchens are beginning to resemble a packaging plant at times as we sift through growing amounts of rubbish for recycling.

Most of us are very willing to do our bit – but the problem is that it is still not enough.

And it is not just the planet that is suffering now – local services are too. The city can ill afford the £1 million in punitive landfill taxes which it has been hit with after failing to hit EU recycling targets, especially at a time when it is having to make difficult decisions on the future of such valued services as the much-admired Engine Shed.

The switch to fortnightly bin collections is just the latest council initiative which has helped nudge recycling rates in the right direction but we’ve still a long way to go.

So what is the answer to getting even more of us to recycle even more?

One thing bound to help is the scrapping of the system which has seen us amass up to ten separate boxes and bags for kerbside collections of recyclable waste.

Soon most of our recycling will go into a single giant wheelie bin in the same way as our regular rubbish and garden waste. It is a system which already works well in other parts of the Lothians and is overdue in the Capital.

It does mean more work for the council, but if people are to recycle more simplicity is the key. The role of householders has to be identifying and separating out what can be recycled but not sorting it all out into a myriad of different containers. That is simply too much hassle for many people.

A tougher nut to crack will be increasing recycling among those living in the city’s tenements, where it is so much harder to make recycling collections convenient. Something, though, will have to change there too.