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Hubs with six bins each are to be created at 1,750 locations in areas including Leith, Leith Walk, Gorgie, Fountainbridge, Portobello, Colinton, Morningside Stockbridge, the Southside and the city centre.
The hubs will typically have one glass recycling bin, one food waste bin, two general waste bins and two mixed recycling bins, the council’s finance and resources committee was told.
But Meadows/Morningside Labour councillor Mandy Watt asked what would be done to keep them clean.
She said: “Some of the bins, particularly the food waste bins, are not particularly pleasant and if you can’t visit the other bins, because they’re in a hub, without coming into close contact with the food waste bins, which can be pretty horrible, I can see people would find that a pretty unpleasant experience.”
Waste service manager Andy Williams told her: “We do take your point. As each bin hub is rolled out the bins will be either new or they will be refurbished bins.
“With reference to food waste bins, I don’t particularly enjoy looking at or using the food waste bins we currently have. We want to change those to more a litter bin-style housing rather than the larger communal bins we have at the moment.”
He said part of the project was to increase the frequency of bin collections to every other day, which was intended to tackle the problems of overflowing bins and piles of rubbish being left next to them.
And he said they planned to be “more proactive” on cleanliness.
Operational services director Gareth Barwell said the new food waste containers were cheaper than the current ones and more user-friendly.
The committee approved a £1.6 million contract to install the hubs although all the locations have not yet been finalised.
Residents in the New Town are campaigning against bin hubs in the World Heritage Site, arguing they would be a permanent scar on the streetscape.
And Tory councillor Andrew Johnston asked about the flexibility of the contract. “Were the hub bins to be determined to be incompatible with the World Heritage Site, are we still bound by signing up to pay for the bins?”
Mr Williams told him: “The contract doesn’t bind us to this type of corralling in the wider World Heritage Site. We’re working quite closely with Edinburgh World Heritage to look at proposed bin locations and alternative styles of bin corralling that might be more suitable in those areas. The value of the contract is an estimate and we are not obliged to spend the full sum.”
The meeting also heard that if the Scottish Government’s proposed deposit return scheme to encourage recycling was a success, there could be a significant change in the waste being collected, with a reduction in glass, plastics and cans, but the purpose of the bins in the hubs could easily be switched.