Edinburgh to launch flat recycling trials next month

The City of Edinburgh Council has announced that it will roll out two new recycling trials for those living in flatted tenements next month, in a bid to boost recycling rates.

First proposed in March last year, the six-month projects aim to make recycling ‘easier’ for people living in flats and tenements near Montgomery Street, Hillside, and Bellevue, and help the council achieve the Scottish Government’s 70 per cent recycling target by 2025 (Edinburgh currently recycles around 40 per cent of its household waste).

The trials have been brought about after a public consultation by Zero Waste Scotland and City of Edinburgh Council found that residents wanted more capacity for recycling, particularly for glass.

Trial details

Edinburgh to launch flat recycling trials next month

Focusing on on-street waste containers for tenement areas, the two pilot projects will ‘expand the range of materials collected’ to include a wider range of materials such as plastic pots, tubs and trays and ‘improve the balance between recycling and landfill bins’.

Trial 1

The first project will cover communal recycling facilities on Brunswick Street, Brunton Gardens, Brunton Place, Brunton Terrace, Hillside Crescent, Hillside Street, Montgomery Street, Wellington Street, West Montgomery Place and Windsor Street. 

This trial will see blue box collections (used to collect glass and metal) cease and paper and packaging banks fitted with green lids for the collection of all mixed recycling (paper, cardboard, cans/tins, and plastic) except glass. Where possible, remaining bins will be used to collect glass. There will be no change to shared waste and food waste bins. 

It is hoped that by ‘simplifying’ the recycling process, residents will be encouraged to recycle more.

Trial 2

The second pilot will take place in Bellevue Place, Bellevue Road, Bellevue Street, Bellevue Terrace, Claremont Crescent, East Claremont Street, Melgund Terrace, Bellevue Gardens and West Annandale Street.

These areas currently use large 3,200-litre bins for landfill waste, but under the pilot, around a quarter of these will be changed into green-lidded mixed recycling bins (excepting glass) to ‘improve the balance between recycling and landfill bins’.

The smaller 1,280-litre banks previously used for paper and packaging will, where possible, be replaced with glass banks.

There will be no changes to food waste collections. 

‘Improving recycling rates is a real priority’

According to the council, the projects will be ‘regularly monitored’ to evaluate the impact of the reduced residual waste capacity and regular checks will also take place throughout the pilot period to establish how well used the recycling bins are, and to monitor any issues with side waste and fly-tipping.

Local residents will be surveyed to gain feedback on the pilot and find out whether it has led to them recycling more of their household waste.

It is anticipated that the scheme will be extended to the rest of the city’s flats and tenements by October 2015.

Edinburgh council’s Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “Improving recycling rates is a real priority for the council as we aim to drive down landfill and the associated costs, as well as making a positive impact on the environment.

“A similar approach to simplified recycling elsewhere in the city has already seen a significant drop in rubbish being sent to landfill, and I know that many people living in flats and tenements want to contribute to this.” 

The decision to change the way recycling is collected in flats and tenements follows on from the council’s decision to ‘streamline’ the kerbside recycling service for those in ‘low-density housing areas’.

Under the new £3.3-million system, households have had their existing service replaced by a ‘twin-stream collection approach’ involving a large blue bin for glass, textiles, small waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), and household batteries, and a blue box for cardboard, paper, plastics and metals. Both receptacles will be collected on the same day on a fortnightly basis. 

According to the latest council figures, those using the new kerbside service have seen a 30 per cent reduction in landfill waste and a 50 per cent increase in recycling, with homes reducing residual waste arisings by two kilogrammes a week (to five kilogrammes) and increasing recycling by one kilogramme a week (to three kilogrammes).

Find out more about the council’s flats and tenements recycling trials.

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