Waste reduction plan starts to clean up in Edinburgh

Victoria Street, Edinburgh

Waste and cleansing service forges ahead with progress thanks to 65-point action plan 

An action plan designed to improve Edinburgh’s waste and cleansing service has made good progress in its first months, according to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Since its implementation, the 65-point plan has seen an overall reduction in missed collections, as well as an increase in the percentage of street cleansing enquiries addressed within timescale.

On Tuesday (17 January), members of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Transport and Environment Committee will hear an update on the Waste and Cleansing Improvement Plan, which was approved in November.

This comes alongside the latest Cleanliness of the City report, which scored 97% of Edinburgh’s streets clean, improving on 92% in September and 95% in June.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “It is encouraging to hear that the actions within this plan are beginning to have an impact – this is exactly the kind of result we hoped to begin to see when we approved it in November.

“However, we are well aware that issues still exist across waste and cleansing, and initial improvements are no cause for complacency. We will continue to work hard to realise outstanding actions, creating a much more satisfactory, efficient service for everyone.”

One of the proposals within the plan is to change the charges for Special Uplifts for bulky items from £26 for up to six items to £5 per item, which will be part of a separate report to Transport and Environment Committee on Tuesday. It is hoped that the change would encourage residents to use the service, in turn reducing the incidence of fly-tipping of large items.

Amongst the actions already achieved have been the identification of the root causes for the most missed communal and kerbside bins, increased supervision over bin collections to improve quality and the addition of extra resource to remove fly-tipping more quickly.

Ongoing actions include the development of a full training programme for frontline staff, the procurement of new, larger food waste recycling vehicles to meet demand and a review of street cleansing routes and resources to address hotspots.

It is now intended to focus resources on delivering outstanding actions to achieve sustained improvement across the service, reducing the number of complaints and increasing customer satisfaction.

Waste Improvement Plan

Key actions achieved

• Rapid improvement event to identify the most missed properties by stream and resolve the root cause of the misses
• Cease practise of ‘task and finish’ across Waste Collection Service
• Increase supervision resource within the communal bin collection services to improve service quality and resolve customer issues more effectively
• Identify new routes and options for ‘barrow beat’ staff
• Additional night shift for mechanical street sweeping duties
• Ongoing trial of bin fill sensors
• Additional resources for special uplift and street cleansing services to address fly-tipping and special uplift waiting times

Key actions ongoing

• Development of a five-year training programme for frontline staff
• Communications campaigns to ensure that businesses and residents in communal areas are aware of their responsibilities when disposing of their waste
• Ensuring access to communal bins for residents and waste collection staff
• Identify solutions to procure contract for supply and maintenance of communal bins
• Conduct a review of Waste and Cleansing resource requirements for the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe
• Replace the existing 7.5 tonne food waste recycling vehicles with 12 tonne vehicles to increase collection capacity
• Procure replacement street cleansing vans allowing crews to be properly equipped
• Undertaking review of special uplift service, particularly the charging structure, proposing £5 per item charge
• Focus resources from the Environment Warden and Waste Compliance Teams on regularly investigating incidents of fly-tipping
• Continue successful ‘Our Edinburgh’ campaign focusing on social responsibility and community participation

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