Weekly bin collections ditched by city leaders

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WEEKLY wheelie bin collections in Edinburgh will be axed from September, it has been confirmed, as part of a new drive to encourage more recycling.

Household bins will instead be uplifted every fortnight to save public funds and encourage people to make more use of coloured recycling boxes.

The move had been expected to happen earlier in the summer but full details of how it will work have just been revealed.

An information campaign will be launched at the start of next month, with the council saying officials intend to visit as many residents as possible to explain the new system.

Grey-lidded food waste bins are to be collected weekly so that discarded food is not left rotting for long periods of time.

Environment chiefs aim to save £770,000 this year alone and believe the measures will encourage more residents to recycle.

Collection times will change in some areas, with a small number running until 9.45pm, although refuse lorries will not use warning sounds in an effort to minimise noise.

Brown wheelie bins will also be collected every other week due to reduced demand. Households in low-density areas have green and brown wheelie bins placed outside for weekly collection. High-density areas such as Marchmont have large on-street communal bins which are emptied weekly, and there will be no changes to that system.

Edinburgh City Council 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 by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in November showed the average local authority in Scotland was managing to recycle 43.6 per cent.

Lucy Frankel, project manager for the Food Waste Network, run by Vegware, Edinburgh Green Company of the Year, said there was an opportunity to hugely improve recycling rates.

She said: “With regular food waste and recycling collections, there really is very little left for the landfill bin.

“Landfill is far more expensive than any form of recycling. So householders who recycle are helping the council spend less on waste – that will leave more money for vital projects and services.”

Lesley Hinds, the city’s environment leader, said: “Residents can be assured that with another two months until 
managed weekly collections begin, every person who will be affected will be sent the details.

“Staff will be knocking on as many doors as possible so that they can give these details face to face. Information will also be posted on the council website and a public awareness campaign will start at the beginning of August.

“Refuse collections in Edinburgh are being altered in a bid to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill and to encourage households to recycle more.

“With a large choice of recycling options available, we hope this will reduce the need for affected households – about 50 per cent of the city – to have waste collected for landfill each week.

“These changes will help reduce the 148,000 tonnes of rubbish we dump at landfill each year, and to raise recycling rates from the current 33 per cent to 50 per cent by 2014.”