Residents face fine for extra bags as bin pick-ups halved

Fears more rubbish will be left on street as collections axed
Fears more rubbish will be left on street as collections axed
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ENVIRONMENT chiefs have warned city residents they can still expect fines if they dump extra bin bags next to their wheelie bins despite cutting the number of rubbish collections in half.

• Fortnightly collections to be introduced next month after cutbacks

• Residents face fines for dumping extra bin bags next to wheelie bins despite cutbacks

Fortnightly collections will be introduced next month due to cutbacks and to encourage city residents to recycle more.

It is expected that large families will generate much more waste and are likely to put out extra bags.

Under current rules any bags left out in the street carry the same £50 fine as dropping litter, which Edinburgh City Council said it would continue enforce to keep streets clean.

However, it has agreed to look at providing large families extra recycling and food waste boxes, which are collected every week.

Up to 70 per cent of general household waste can be recycled, according to the local authority.

It has been proven that by decreasing the frequency of general waste collections, recycling is encouraged and rates go up. But there are concerns that general waste wheelie bins are likely to be left overflowing as a result.

Bridget Stevens, a retired Merchiston resident and member of the local community council, said if collections were going to be less frequent there had to be flexibility and extra uplifts if needed.

She said: “There is to be no change in the frequency or other collection arrangements for communal bins in tenemental areas but the council needs to ensure that large signs are clearly displayed on every communal bin giving a telephone number to ring if the bin is full.

“Who can forget the sight and smell of overflowing communal bins in 2009 when the bin men were on strike?”

Environment chiefs aim to save £770,000 this year alone.

Collection times will change in some areas, with a small number running until 9.45pm.

Edinburgh currently only recycles 33 per cent of the 220,000 tonnes of waste it 
handles each year, with around 150,000 tonnes going to landfill.

Figures released last year showed the average local authority in Scotland was managing to recycle 43.6 per cent, with the city council having to hit 50 per cent by 2014.

Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, said: “We do understand this will be a challenge for some residents and we will be getting in touch with them directly before the changes are introduced. We also have recycling officers available to offer assistance.

“We can, of course, provide larger waste bins and boxes to those with larger families or with other special requirements. It is important we continue to keep our streets clean by tackling littering and fly tipping.”