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Pilot scheme sees significant rise in Edinburgh’s glass recycling rates

Two pilots to improve recycling provision for city tenements and flats have seen the amount of glass recycling increase by up to 300%.

The pilots, carried out by the City of Edinburgh Council in the Hillside and Bellevue areas, tested a number of different approaches, including increased recycling capacity and changes to the mix of materials collected.

The trials saw the rebranding of existing separate paper and packaging banks as mixed recycling bins, fortnightly blue box glass collections replaced with on-street glass bins and the replacement of kerbside recycling collections with communal mixed recycling bins.

Over the pilot period, new on-street bins increased glass recycling by 300%, while mixed recycling was seen to rise by around 38% where on-street bins were made available, instead of kerbside box collections.

Other lessons learned showed recycling bins placed next to landfill bins were less likely to be contaminated with general waste, while the amount of recycling collected was influenced by convenience for residents.

Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “We are making great strides to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill here in Edinburgh, with a number of successful initiatives to encourage recycling under way.

“It makes absolute sense that we also focus efforts on simplifying recycling for those living in flatted and tenemental properties too, and these results demonstrate that there’s lots that can be done.”

The trial follows the successful roll-out of a new kerbside recycling service for more than 140,000 homes between 2014 and 2015, which has already seen the amount of waste recycled rise by 29%.

Transport and Environment Committee, councillors have acknowledged the positive impact of the scheme, but agreed any expansion would have to take into account differing streetscapes and road layouts across the city.

A number of key principles for improving communal recycling were approved, including increased recycling capacity, on-street glass and food collections, and the merging of paper and packaging collections.

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