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A bid to scrap the appointment system, introduced as a Covid measure to avoid congestion and allow physical distancing, was rejected by the city’s transport and environment committee.
Brian Robertson from Unite told the committee there was a consensus among the workforce that they liked the booking system and wanted to keep it.
He said: "It does reduce the queuing and the chaos, it creates more order and it's easier for the staff to organise.
"It has also improved relationships with the public which were previously a bit fraught. And staff are more able to help the public and the public are very appreciative.
Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang, who proposed scrapping the system, said now Covid restrictions had been eased, the "fundamental rationale" given for booking ahead had gone.
"I have constituents writing to me asking why the council has kept this added level of bureaucracy for such a simple task as going to a recycling centre.”
An he claimed it could be deterring people from recycling.
"Recycling levels in this city are not what they should be. At the very beginning of this council, the administration made a promise to increase recycling rates from 46 per cent to 60 per cent but we have seen a fall to less than 40 per cent it was falling before Covid and it has fallen further since. "
Tory councillor Graham Hutchison backed Cllr Lang, saying the overwhelming number of emails on waste had been against the booking system.
But transport convener Lesley Macinnes said the booking system was “a happy by-product of our Covid response” and it had delivered “big time” for residents and for staff.
She said she was a frequent user of the Craigmillar centre and was usually able to get a booking within an hour.
She added: “I think it would take a cynical soul to argue that introducing an online booking system which has been used 750,000 times is an extra level of bureaucracy that would put people off from recycling.”
Officials will prepare a report for the committee’s meeting in March when it will decide if the booking system should become permanent.