EXASPERATED Alison Weir didn’t know what to do when countless calls to the council failed to get her mother-in-law’s bins collected – so she emptied the contents of the landfill bin into a black sack and left it on the doorstep of the council’s Drumbrae hub.
“Perhaps they can find a bin lorry to come and take it away,” she said.
And she is threatening to repeat the exercise with the recycling waste at council headquarters at Waverley Court today unless bin men turn up and collect it first.
Ms Weir and her husband arranged assisted collections for her mother-in-law Agnes Weir, 92, last year. It means the bins should be collected from just inside the gate of her house in Parkgrove Terrace and she does not need to worry about putting them out to the pavement.
But when the council reorganised its bin collections in October Mrs Weir’s bins stopped getting picked up.
Alison put a notice on one bin saying “I am an assisted bin – please uplift” and the bin was collected.
Another week she happened to see the refuse lorry and tapped on the window and pointed at the bin and they took it – but those are the only times they have been uplifted.
She said the last time the landfill and recycling bins were collected was at the end of November. “That’s about six weeks now,” she said.
“I’m at the end of my tether, my stress levels are through the roof and I’m at a complete loss about how to resolve this.”
She went to Edinburgh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton. “But when I spoke to his office later they said the council had told them the bins had now been emptied – but they haven’t. I don’t know whose bins they’re emptying, but it’s not Agnes’s.”
The council recorded 8000 complaints in the space of five weeks after the new four-day collection rota was introduced in October. Complaints have since halved. Officials have said the new rotas are still bedding in.
Alison said she had decided to leave the rubbish on the council’s own doorstep – addressed to senior waste and cleansing operations manager Murray Black – as a last resort. “They can fine me if they want,” she said. “It will just highlight this problem again.
“We arranged the assisted collections for Agnes to save her the worry but all it’s done is make things worse. She has us to fight for her. But how many elderly and infirm people are there whose bins are reaching capacity and they don’t know what to do?”
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Everyone knows the bin collections in the city have reached fiasco levels. Mrs Weir has been more poorly served than most. The council needs to deliver on what they have committed to.”
Environment convener Lesley Macinnes said: “I appreciate the frustration these missed bin collections must have caused and apologise to Mrs Weir for the inconvenience. We are currently investigating the reasons these bins have not been collected to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and have arranged to pick them up immediately.
“We would encourage anyone who has not had their bin collected, especially assisted collections, to let us know.”