Council receives 2,000 complaints over ‘shambles’ bin collections

Complaints to the council have soared after the chaotic roll-out of a new bin collection schedule saw multiple streets being missed. Picture: Danny Lawson
Complaints to the council have soared after the chaotic roll-out of a new bin collection schedule saw multiple streets being missed. Picture: Danny Lawson
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Bin collections have become “a shambles” after kerbside changes left the city council dealing with more than 2,000 complaints.

Councillors are calling for waste management to be given an overhaul after the city council’s decision to change its collection rota to a four-day week left the authority dealing with 2,112 missed collection complaints in the space of ten days.

The “teething problems” came after the council sent almost 100,000 households letters giving them the wrong information ahead of the shake-up. The new garden waste brown bin service was also introduced at the same time.

Gerry Neish has been waiting for the council to empty his household waste bin at Colinton Mains Drive for the last eight days.

He said: “One or two days late has become the norm now – but this is just getting out of hand.

“The council’s phone system makes it as difficult as possible to complain – I never spoke to a member of the human race. There is not a more basic service for any council than emptying people’s bins and they are failing abysmally.”

Labour Cllr Scott Arthur said the overhaul should have been trialled in smaller areas before being rolled out across the city. He added: “Implementing charging for garden waste collection at the same time as a city-wide overhaul of the collection rotas for other collections teams was always going to be a huge challenge when cuts mean there is no spare capacity.

“Whilst most people expected a few transitional problems, I have probably had more complaints in the past week than the six months running up to it.

“The mood amongst Colinton and Oxgangs residents has slowly moved from bemusement to utter frustration.”

As part of the roll-out, extra one-off bin collections were scheduled over the last two weekends for some properties which would have seen a gap in their collections. The council said it became clear that it did not have the resources to complete the interim collection schedule planned for last weekend.

Conservative transport spokesman, Cllr Nick Cook, urged the council to be more open with the public.

He said: “The SNP/Labour coalition’s latest tinkering with city bin collections has swiftly become a shambles, with backbench administration councillors even admitting to receiving a sharp rise in missed collection complaints.”

Residents are advised to continue using their new collection schedules.

Transport and environment vice convener, Cllr Karen Doran, said: “The last two weeks have seen major changes to individual bin collections across Edinburgh, as we move to a four-day collection rota alongside the introduction of the new garden waste service.

“Staff have worked to help make this complex transition run as smoothly as possible for the 175,000 households affected, including providing additional collections to properties experiencing a gap in collections and we would like to thank residents for their understanding throughout this period.”