Recycling service pilots for flats in Edinburgh

Two projects that aim to make recycling ‘easier’ for people living in flats and tenements in Edinburgh have been proposed by the City of Edinburgh Council for consideration at the next Transport and Environment Committee, it has been announced.

Focusing on ‘traditional’ tenement areas, the two pilot projects aim to ‘expand the range of materials collected’ and ‘improve the balance between recycling and landfill bins’.

Currently there are two recycling bins in communal areas, one for paper and the other for ‘packaging’ (i.e cardboard, cans, plastic bottles).

Project details

If established, the first project would see paper, cardboard, cans and plastic bottles co-mingled into one bin instead of two to ‘simplify’ the recycling process. Where possible, the remaining bins (previously used for collecting paper) will then be converted into glass recycling bins. Until now, those living in flats or tenements have been unable to recycle this material.

The second project would increase recycling capacity and reduce residual waste capacity. Proposed for implementation in areas where 3200 litre bins are currently used for landfill waste, the project would see these bins used instead for the collection of paper, cardboard, cans and plastic.

The smaller 1280 litre bins, currently used for collecting paper or packaging, would then become the residual waste bins.

A separate bin for glass would also be provided.

According to the council, the projects would be ‘regularly monitored’ to evaluate the impact of the reduced residual waste capacity.

Regular checks would 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 flytipping. 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.

‘Preventing waste and creating a green, sustainable city’

Speaking of the proposals, Councillor Lesley Hinds, Environment Convener, said: “We have a comprehensive recycling service in Edinburgh, and have developed options for different kinds of accommodation, but it is important that we address the challenges faced by those living in flats.

“To this end we have been listening to residents in order to improve the service, which is essential for preventing waste and creating a green, sustainable city.”

The proposals for simpler recycling follow a public consultation by both Zero Waste Scotlandand City of Edinburgh Council on residents’s attitudes to recycling in flats and tenements.

This consultation showed that the ‘barriers to recycling’ included: ‘lack of access to facilities’; a lack of information on what and where to recycle; and too few recycling bins.

According to City of Edinburgh Council, these measures to ‘enhance’ recycling services contribute to their targets to reduce landfill and increase the percentage of waste recycled, which currently sits ‘just under’ 40 per cent.

The proposals to change the way recycling is collected in flat and tenements follow 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 will see their existing service replaced by ‘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. 

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