Communal bin review

Changes to gull proof bag and recycling box collections

We recognise the uniqueness of the World Heritage Site. We are working with Edinburgh World Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland to help ensure waste and recycling services do not undermine the character of the area but also increase the amount of waste that we recycle. 

Gull proof bag and recycling box collections in some streets in the New Town are changing. We've been trialling a new service in some streets, and this is ongoing. We also commissioned an independent evaluation of alternative approaches to waste collection in the wider World Heritage Site. This was agreed by the Transport and Environment committee in November 2023. 

Why the service needs to change

The Council has ambitious targets to become carbon neutral 2030 and to meet these we need to ensure our recycling rates are enhanced. We want every resident in Edinburgh to have equal opportunities to recycle their waste. The red box does not provide adequate capacity to collect the range of materials which could be recycled.  

As the waste collection authority, we have a statutory right to specify how waste is collected. The service is changing because

  • the current service does not provide enough capacity for recycling and this leads to litter issues
  • the use of gull proof bags has been low, causing overflows of waste in nearby bins
  • we are improving the communal bin service across the city and this will include the World Heritage Site
  • there are safety and manual handling issues for both residents and collection crews.

Project update

May 2024