Edinburgh bin strike: Here's what to do with your waste while workers are on strike

Bin collections across the Capital are being suspended from Thursday as refuse workers walk out on strike over a 3.5 per cent pay offer.

The city’s three recycling centres will be closed and bulky uplift and fly-tipping services will also be paused as a result of the action.

The council said the stoppage, which is due to last until August 30, would cause “significant disruption” and it issued advice to residents on what to do.

‘Store waste at home’

The bin strike - over a 'paltry' 3.5 per cent pay offer - is due to last until August 30.

Collections are suspended for all communal waste and recycling bins and people are asked not add to full bins. Instead, they should check nearby bins, and when these are all full, they should store their waste at home, or in their back green or garden if possible. Bags should not be left next to bins, unless it is unavoidable, because it can become a hazard.

And the council says: “Keep separating your waste and rinse pots, tubs and trays, and rinse and squash your plastic bottles and aluminium cans, so that these don’t smell while you store them. Flatten cardboard too. Keep food waste in a sealed container, as cool as possible.”

Glass bottle bank services will continue, however, as these are managed by an external contractor.

‘Don’t put your bins out’

Kerbside collections – including glass – are also being suspended and people are being told not to put their bins out. The council says: “Please keep your waste safe, secure and away from pavements and roads. Consider using a garage, garden or driveway and ensure strong bin bags are properly secured.”

Recycling should be kept clean, flattened, and stored safely. Kerbside food waste bins should be kept closed and secured to prevent animal access. Brown garden waste bins should not be put out – the council says it understands the disappointment this will cause and cannot advise when the service will be running normally again.

Residents are also being advised not to put out their blue glass recycling boxes. The council says: “Please rinse bottles and jars and store these at home. Please do not use on-street or local bring site recycling points to dispose of your glass. We do not have the staff resources to empty these or clean up fly-tipped material.”

‘Take your litter home’

Household waste recycling centres will be closed. It will not be possible to book an appointment, and all existing bookings will be contacted by email to cancel.

Collections of bulky waste items are being suspended. Existing bookings will be honoured where staffing allows. The council says if people have booked a special uplift and it cannot be collected, they will let them know.

Street cleaning and the emptying of bins for litter and dog poo will be “much reduced”, the council says. It urges people either to use a bin that’s not full or to take it home and double bag it to reduce smells.

Commercial waste services for businesses are not collected by the council and will continue as normal, as will street cleansing on the High Street and Mound Precinct, which are managed by the Fringe Society.

An estimated 250 members of the Unite union in Edinburgh will take part in the strike, which is the “first wave” of action which will spread to other local authorities in Scotland next week.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s local government representatives have rejected the paltry offer of 3.5 per cent from COSLA. The offer is nowhere near good enough.

"Council leaders across Scotland including Edinburgh and Glasgow are publicly on the record acknowledging this reality so why should our members even consider it. We make no apologies for standing up for our members because they deserve better than what they are getting from the politicians. Unite will always defend the jobs, pay and conditions of its members.”

Edinburgh council leader Cammy Day said: “I firmly believe that all council colleagues deserve to be paid fairly for the work they do and have every right to take this action and have their voices heard. As the lowest-funded council in Scotland, it’s time for the Scottish Government to properly fund our Capital city and its services.

“I fully appreciate the impact this action will have on our city and we’re asking residents to be patient and work with us to help manage the inevitable impacts by planning ahead and following our advice. We’ve published tips on what to do with their waste and recycling and how they can help us to keep the city as clean as possible during and after the strike.

“We’re also reaching out to our tenants and housing associations, businesses, festivals and other partners asking them to share our messaging and provide whatever support they can during this busy and important time for our Capital city.”

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