Changes to waste collections will help protect workers' safety

Corona waste service

Changes will be made to waste collections in Edinburgh to ensure the continued delivery of essential services and to protect the health of frontline workers and residents.

  • New arrangements will protect the health of frontline staff
  • Non-statutory garden waste collections will be suspended to allow for changes
  • Additional measures have been taken to safeguard public health

From 7 April we are suspending kerbside garden waste (brown bin) collections to help prioritise resources while enabling waste collection crews to observe social distancing guidelines during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

In order to give crew members the space to stay two metres apart, the number of operatives in refuse lorry cabs will be reduced, meaning we’ll need increased resources to carry out the collection of kerbside and communal general waste, food recycling and dry mixed recycling.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:

“As a result of the current situation, non-statutory garden waste collections will be suspended until further notice, along with kerbside glass (blue box) collections, which were stopped earlier this month. We’ll be in touch with households who have paid for this service about how we'll compensate them for the reduction in service once we know the extent of the disruption.

“We’re working extremely hard to continue providing essential services to people living here, and our waste collection crews are doing a fantastic job. However, their health is of utmost importance so it’s important that we adapt service provision to protect their safety.

“This latest change will allow us to keep collecting most bins while giving teams the space to practise social distancing, limiting the potential spread of the coronavirus. I want to reassure the public that we’re doing everything we can to keep essential services running as close to normal as possible while looking out for the needs of the people who work for us.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day said:

“Like local authorities across the country we face unprecedented challenges and at times like these it’s necessary to make changes for the good of the city, and our employees.

“We know this will be of some inconvenience to those planning to be gardening during this period, but I would discourage people from putting grass and cuttings in the brown bins in the meantime, as contents will begin to compost meaning they may become too heavy for us to collect once the service is up and running again. You can, however, find tips and advice for home composting on Changeworks’ website.”

To further support the essential collection of general waste, mixed recycling and food recycling, we are procuring extra resources from a third-party provider, as well as reassigning staff from cleansing teams.

Anyone with symptoms of Coronavirus is encouraged to follow the guidance on how to dispose of waste correctly to help protect the safety of bin collection crews.

Additional measures taken to safeguard waste and cleansing workers’ health have been the increased provision of hand sanitiser supplies, in addition to hot water handwashing points in a number of vehicles, the washing down of lorries at the end of shifts and efforts to encourage social distancing in depots.

We will be contacting all those who have registered for garden waste collections to update on arrangements via letter or email, depending on how they signed up. During this period, residents can continue recycling garden waste by using a compost bin if possible - tips and advice for home composting are available on Changeworks’ website. If your brown bin is full please don’t put more garden waste in as the contents will start to compost and could become too heavy to empty when services start again.

Further information on changes to bin collections and other services can be found on the Council website.


Published: April 2nd 2020