Anger as dozens of baked goods regularly dumped in Leith recycling bin

Many have been venting their anger and frustration online about the waste of so much food.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 12:20 pm

Concerns have been raised about dozens of baked goods regularly being dumped in a recycling bin in Leith.

Bagels, croissants, rolls, scones and ciabattas are among the goods often stuffed into the open-topped bin in Portland Street.

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Siobhan Buchanan snapped a picture of the waste as she walked past the bin last Tuesday.

Food Standards Scotland said there is "no legal requirement" for businesses to throw food out unless for a food safety reason, such as it being past its 'used by' date. But they stressed that, although baked goods may no longer be at their best after 24 hours, 'best before' dates refer to quality rather than safety - and such foods are safe to eat after the date shown.

Leith resident Siobhan Buchanan photographed the dumped bakery items last week while out walking her neighbour's dog, and shared the pictures in the I Love Leith Facebook group.

Many locals have been venting their frustration and anger about why the food is not being donated to local food banks or homeless charities.

Speaking to the Evening News, Siobhan said she also walked past the bin at lunchtime today and saw more baked goods buried beneath some vegetable peelings.

The 29-year-old, who works as a freelance writer and editor, said: "There are always a few big bags in there. Every time it's a different combination and always bakery produce.

"Everything looks fresh and it's such a waste. There have been many people commenting (online) that it could go to someone through the Olio or Too Good To Go apps.

"It concerns me as to why they are dumping so much produce all the time. Surely there is something we could do with it?

"It seems really bizarre. I assume it's businesses doing it, so why don't they make less food if they are continually having to waste it? I bet it's like this all over the city, and it just seems so wasteful."

The Olio app cuts food waste by enabling people to snap a photo of the leftover food, set a pick-up location and get notified when they receive request before meeting up to share the food with someone.

Too Good To Go is a way for businesses to share leftovers with other people or businesses to cut waste in return for some extra income.

Siobhan says the bin itself is located beside a small car park in a residential area, but there are a few businesses near the recycling bin including a Co-op, a bakery, a Chinese and a couple of pubs. However, the person or business responsible for dumping the baked goods is not known.

'Shocking waste'

Food businesses in Scotland should organise and pay for their own recycling, including food waste rather than dump it in communal bins which are for residents only.

Edinburgh City Council's environment convener, councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: "What a shocking waste - if this food is as fresh as we're told it is, there's absolutely no excuse for it being unceremoniously dumped like this rather than passed on to a charity for people in need.

"And if it can been proven that it's a food business doing the dumping, then that's even worse - businesses are legally responsible for disposing of and recycling their waste and should never be abusing communal bins for residents.

"We've tipped off our enforcement team about this and they'll pay special attention to this area on their regular patrols to avoid further infringements, as well as speak to local businesses to make sure everyone's aware of their legal obligations on waste disposal and recycling.

"If anyone has any information that would help us identify those responsible for the dumping, please let us know."

Food Standards

A Food Standards Scotland spokeswoman said: "Food businesses in Scotland need to comply with food safety regulations to make sure the food they produce is safe to eat.

"Unless there is a safety reason, such as a product being past its ‘use by’ date, there is no legal requirement for food businesses to throw out food.

"Baked goods such as bread and bagels may no longer be at their best after a 24 hour period. However, ‘best before’ dates refer to quality rather than food safety and these foods are safe to eat after the date shown."