Edinburgh council took away recycling bins because they were too popular

Residents are up in arms after the council removed two communal recycling bins – because they were too popular.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 4:55 am

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The bins, both for mixed recycling, had been located in Dublin Street Lane North in the New Town but were often overflowing and then disappeared.

James Stewart Taylor, who lives in nearby Dublin Meuse, said he used them regularly to dispose of paper and cardboard.

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Recycling waste being collected by the council   Photograph: Ian Georgeson
Recycling waste being collected by the council Photograph: Ian Georgeson

"They were next to two bins for landfill and three smaller ones for glass – it was a handy unit, but then suddenly these two disappeared.

"I was in touch with my councillor Joanna Mowat to see if she could get them brought back again and the explanation they came up with was they were too popular. It's ludicrous.

"We're in a pandemic where everyone's buying things online. It all comes encased in cardboard and wrapping and the communal bins were ideal. They were well-used because people need to get rid of it."

And he said taking away the bins would discourage people from recycling.

"If the council thinks it's too much bother to empty them why should I bother trying to recycle – I might as well just shove it in the landfill bin."

City Centre Conservative councillor Joanna Mowat said there was a widespread shortage of bin capacity and the bins in Dublin Street Lane North were constantly overflowing.

But she said: "It sounds completely nuts that the answer to overflowing bins is to remove them. It's just creating more rubbish.

"They get complaints because the bins are overflowing but the answer cannot be to reduce capacity."

She said there was a communal bins review under way but its findings were long overdue.

"It's all very well saying there is a long-term plan but I’ve been saying that to residents for five years now. I'm fed up of saying it. People have lost all faith in the council to provide a basic service for which they pay a high level of council tax and it is a disgrace. I can't make excuses for this any longer."

She said temporary extra bins should be provided as a solution in the meantime.

The council said residents in this part of the New Town were meant to use individual red and blue boxes for recycling and neither of the communal recycling bins should have been there.

It said one bin belonged to a private housing development nearby and it is thought the other was added by the council, but both were removed because they were overflowing all the time.

In a letter to councillors, the waste department said: "We are servicing this bin three times per week and this is just not enough based on the usage and we do not have the vehicle capacity to increase this further."

A spokeswoman said: "One bin migrated from the private development, the department saw it was overflowing so put a second bin next to it, then it was realised they were not meant to be there at all."

She said the original bin had now been returned to the private development and the other one had been removed.

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