The City of Edinburgh Council has reported that the majority of businesses in the city are non-compliant with waste rules.
Its waste compliance team inspected 191 premises in September and found only 79 (41%) were compliant with trade waste disposal regulations.
The other 112 sites could not produce a trade waste contract at the time of the visit, and were issued a legal notice giving them seven days to have one in place before potentially facing prosecution.
So far, the team has also issued four £200 fixed penalty notices to businesses for illegally depositing waste on the street.
Environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “I have been very surprised by the low figures of compliance because all businesses have a legal responsibility to dispose of their waste responsibly.
“The team’s initial focus has been to visit commercial properties in areas that are served by communal bins, to identify any businesses that are using those to dispose of their waste at the expense of the taxpayer.
“By issuing warnings and in some cases fines, we hope to see a vast improvement in these areas.
“Of course, many businesses have passed the inspection with flying colours and are to be thanked. They must however be frustrated themselves when they see other businesses who don’t comply.”
Hinds said she had written to Essential Edinburgh, the Federation of Small Businesses and other organisations to discuss how the council can support responsible businesses.
First Coast, a restaurant on Dalry Road, was one of the businesses that passed the inspection.
Sarah Lauener, assistant manager, said: “When the legislation was first brought in, we put a lot of effort into getting our collections organised with Changeworks Recycling and, since then, it has been easy to stay compliant.
“We do our best to keep our waste neat and clean, and it can be frustrating when you’re around the city and see other companies in the city don’t.”
Since January, any Scottish business producing more than 5kg of food waste a week has to collect the material separately under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations.