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Edinburgh shakes up waste service in response to complaints

Bin blight in Edinburgh streets

City of Edinburgh Council has agreed a plan to overhaul its waste management service after residents complained about overflowing bins, missed collections and fly-tipping.

Changes to waste services in recent years have included different collection frequencies, the introduction of food waste rounds and the roll-out of a new kerbside recycling service to more than 140,000 households.

While it says these changes have delivered many benefits, the council is aware that services have experienced a decline in customer satisfaction and a rise in complaints.

On 1 November, the transport and environment committee rubber-stamped a 65-page action plan that sets out to address these complaints, which involve issues such as missed collections, communal bin services, fly-tipping and litter.

The series of actions will be implemented during the coming months, with some already in place.

Transport and environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “Waste and cleansing services are a real priority for the council, and we appreciate the frustration residents feel when their collections are missed or when they notice overflowing communal bins – this isn’t acceptable.

“That’s why we have drawn up this action plan, which will allow us to target hotspots and focus our resources on tackling the biggest issues systematically, maintaining a clean and welcoming atmosphere for everyone.”

Actions to tackle fly-tipping and dumped waste include undertaking a review of special uplift charge, improving information for residents on the disposal of bulky items, focusing resources on regularly investigating incidents and considering CCTV.

To improve missed and delayed collections, it pledges to introduce a new in-cab routing system as well as identify the most often missed properties and resolve root causes.

The plan aims to improve communal bins by identifying the most frequently missed bins that attract the most complaints as well as:

  • Develop communications to make residents aware of how to dispose of waste properly
  • Ensure adequate access to all communal bins
  • Investigate use of QR codes for reporting missed and overflowing bins
  • Identify potential solutions for supply and repair of communal bins

Actions to boost street cleansing and litter prevention include reviewing resources available and realigning routes to address hotspots as well as:

  • Introducing inspections to ensure cleansing meets standards
  • Increase overnight mechanical sweeping resources to address areas that cannot be accessed during the day
  • Increase capacity of litter bins where possible
  • Continue bin sensors trial

The council ended its commercial collection of waste in July because it said the charges were not covering operational costs.

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