Recycling advisers to offer advice on waste rules

Polystyrene, hard plastics and glass bottles are not to be dumped in family bins. Picture: Esme Allen
Polystyrene, hard plastics and glass bottles are not to be dumped in family bins. Picture: Esme Allen
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Recycling refuseniks are set to be targeted by a crack team of bin-raiding experts – bankrolled by the city council.

The “recycling advisers” will sift through piles of residents’ rubbish and advise reluctant recyclers on how they can do their bit to save the planet.

Teams will sweep the Capital, targeting waste “hot spots” and approaching households thought to be tossing out too much unnecessary rubbish.

One-to-one tutorials will then be offered to families in their own homes in a bid to create recycling devotees.

Trash will be separated with bottle lids, cling film and plastic bags dumped in the kitchen bin, while almost everything else – bar polystyrene chippy cartons – is fit for recycling.

Costing £110,000, the project will recruit eight advisers to patrol the worst performing areas of the Capital.

The innovative scheme comes as slimmed-down wheelie bins are set to be distributed to more than 140,000 homes as part of moves to dramatically slash waste to landfill.

Experts claim the green-minded guidance will help to change hearts and minds.

Recycling consultant Eilidh Brunton, who works for Edinburgh-based producer of compostable packaging Vegware, hailed the new plans.

She said: “Waste management probably isn’t the first thing on people’s to-do list. You’ve got kids to get to school, you’ve got meals to cook, you’ve got a household to run.

“I think having someone going into homes, and showing the actual solutions and that it’s not as difficult as people think, is a great way to change the behaviour of people who aren’t already recycling.”

But today critics branded the scheme “ridiculous” and said it could spark nasty showdowns.

Tory councillor Joanna Mowat, who represents the city centre, said: “If people aren’t terribly welcoming, then there’s an issue about what it’s going to be like to work in one of these roles. It could become quite confrontational.”

Lothians MSP Cameron Buchanan described it “an absurd waste of resources”.

“It suggests the council have doubts about people’s ability to recycle,” he said. “People should not be patronised like this and even the idea of recycling advisers is just ridiculous.”

Yesterday, the News told how the new wheelie bins would hold just five bin bags of rubbish compared with the normal eight as the city moves to meet Scottish Government landfill targets costing taxpayers £1 million last year alone.

A council spokeswoman said: “To help people adapt, we will be using the advisers to monitor the new service as it rolls out. This will include, in the initial weeks, taking note of households that put out extra bags of waste beside their landfill bins and of recycling bins that have the wrong items in them.

“We can then use this information to target our doorstep visits to these properties, to offer additional advice on the new service and reducing waste.”