Bins Edinburgh, New Town Refuse, Streetscape Board in the Scottish Capital City

Edinburgh Council Bin Policy : World Heritage Site

Comment on Edinburgh City Council / Streetscape Board Policy, Scotland, UK

25 Nov 2011

Large communal bins are to be introduced to most streets within the world heritage site, ending years of resistance to the proposals by residents, according to a report in yesterday’s Edinurgh Evening News.

Edinburgh Communal Bins

City council officials have controversially recommended that communal bins used across the city will now be the main method of collecting waste in the New Town and Old Town.

It means an end to black bag collections, which are provided for nearly 10,000 of the 12,000 properties in the historic site, often resulting in litter-strewn streets when bags have been ripped open by gulls, animals and people.

Residents, including senior judges, have fought the “containerisation” of waste collections within the world heritage site for nearly a decade since it was first proposed.

Council chiefs will try to appease opponents of the plan by offering an alternative of large canvas bags that gulls cannot break into on some “sensitive” streets, or where there is “strong resident preference”.

Local councillors have said opposition to the large bins has eased since pilot initiatives on some streets showed that they tended to make the streets cleaner.

But heritage groups have accused the proposals of being only a “short-term solution”.

Marion Williams, director of heritage group The Cockburn Association, said: “In a lot of other European cities they put them underground. I know that is expensive, but if it is a long-term initiative then surely that would be an option.

“We are talking about a world heritage site and all the benefits of having that status so I would have thought it would be a small price to pay.

“What we do with the public realm in the world heritage site is an absolutely vital issue and the way we treat waste is at the top of that list.”

Council officials have opted against evening bin collections after they proved unpopular during pilot initiatives.

The communal bins to be introduced are mainly “spider bins” that are half the size of the largest 3200-litre bins used in some streets and are also green instead of black.

Edinburgh Wheelie Bins


Aug 2002

Edinburgh Bins

Cockburn Association Comment:

Edinburgh Bins / Edinburgh Arts 2000 Year of Architecture & Design 1999 Bid

COMPETITION: Four in a row

My office is a mess with bulging filing cabinets that cover the last thirty years of the Cockburn’s involvement in Edinburgh. On a recent foray into the unknown I came across two documents that set out the case for Edinburgh’s bid to host the Arts 2000 Year of Architecture and Design 1999.

Many of you will remember that time of heady excitement and will also be aware of the outcome and the name of the city, which has benefited so greatly. But how many of you have gone back to that document and re-read the grand aspirations that have been left gathering dust. Forget visions, action plans and mission statements, this document provided everything that Edinburgh needs to achieve.

If we delve into Edinburgh 99 then we find the fantastic assessment that ‘Edinburgh is conscious of the need to promote and conserve a distinctive design character for its public places’ and then the author states that ‘too may British city streets have acquired a bland uniformity through their catalogue design’. To show that they meant business they then went and designed a new bin that was introduced on the High Street (although two can be found on Picardy Place for no apparent reason).

Now those of you who know me will appreciate that if there is one thing that gets my goat it is street clutter. Friends think I am starting to go mad as a discuss lampposts and examine bollard design in numerous UK cities. It just seems sensible that using high quality street furniture will vastly improve the standard of our public realm. But the bit that the City of Edinburgh Council always forgets is the requirement to use this street furniture in a uniform manner.

Their recent initiative to purchase two hundred off the shelf bins and then scatter them around the city centre is a difficult one to support. This is made worse when you discover that the City Council operates a Streetscape Board to advise them on design and location in the World Heritage Site. It appears to have been side-stepped in the name of progress and cleanliness.

Edinburgh Bins Competition

Edinburgh Bins Competition News

The basic challenge that I am setting is to find a location in the city centre where you can see four (or more) types of council operated bin. My highest number at present is three and this is standing outside the Planning Departments office at 1 Cockburn Street. Entries to the Cockburn Association, Trunks Close, 55 High Street, EDINBURGH – [email protected].

While studying the Edinburgh 99 document I came across the desire for an Architecture & Design Centre to be created in Edinburgh to provide ‘the UK’s first dedicated point of interface between the public and the design professionals. Work on the Centre has already begun.’ The desire for this essential tool has to be reborn and brought back into the arena. In my next month’s article I will look at the options available to the city.

Edinburgh & Bins: Martin Hulse, Cockburn Association Aug 2002

Scottish Capital Building Designs

Contemporary Scottish Capital Property Designs – recent architectural selection below:

Hotel Missoni Edinburgh

Edinburgh Walking Tours : Architecture Walking Tours

Scottish Parliament

RBS Gogarburn

Waverley Station Redevelopment
Waverley Station
photograph © Adrian Welch

New Town St James Centre
John Lewis Edinburgh
photo © Adrian Welch

Greenside Place
omni edinburgh
picture from architect

Calton Hill
Calton Hill
photograph © Adrian Welch

Edinburgh Festival Theatre
Festival Theatre
image © Adrian Welch

McEwan Hall
McEwan Hall
photo © Adrian Welch

Comments / photos for the Edinburgh Bins page welcome: