MOUNTAINS of abandoned Christmas trees are contributing to an average of over 120 complaints a day about waste left uncollected in Scotland’s capital city.
Between January and November last year, an astonishing 40,662 complaints were made to Edinburgh Council relating to non-collection of waste including household wheelie bins, recycling, food waste and on-street public bins.
And the problem shows no signs of improving as piles of Christmas trees were left lying all over the streets of Edinburgh – the day after the supposed collection date for them.
The figures, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, show that the city is in a worst state that ever before with complaints soaring from 31,996 for the whole of the previous year.
Complaints between January and November 2015 averaged 122 a day or one complaint every 12 minutes.
And 95% were noted as being due to “non-collection of waste” – the other 5% being from complaints relating to “conduct enquiries” and “insurance enquiries”.
Hundreds of angered residents have taken to the council’s Twitter page to share shocking images of overflowing bins – some of which have not been collected since before Christmas.
Twitter user @pyris, from Leith, messaged the council: “Pay attention. I don’t want to end up wrestling loose Christmas trees out of the street after dark in a gale again.”
Dan Smith asked the council: “What will you be doing with all the Christmas trees liberally strewn around the city?”
Jenny Matthews wrote: “ Edinburgh City Council, why are you not collecting recycle bins? Five weeks rubbish on Woodhall Road.”
Bill Tully said “Portobello has had no collection since Dec 23 disgrace.”
And Giles Cooke wrote: “I logged missed bin collection three times – still nothing. Missed entire street today. Not had collection for a month.”
A spokesman for Taxpayers’ Scotland said: “The City Council really does need to concentrate on basic services like this above all other fanciful ideas for tram systems or arts festivals.
“Local taxpayers deserve a lot better for their hard earned cash than a badly operating service that doesn’t keep Edinburgh streets clean and its residents’ waste collections dealt with efficiently.”
Scottish Conservative local government spokesman Cameron Buchanan said: “Residents and visitors to our capital city deserve a far better service and it is not hard to see why people are complaining.
“With rubbish bags bulging out of bins and streets strewn with litter, it is hardly doing much for the image of the city both at home and abroad.
“Taxpayers fork out millions each year on council tax and the very least they deserve is an efficient waste collection service and clean streets. Collections should be made according to usage, especially in city centre streets.
“We are constantly bombarded with Scottish Government adverts on waste, but obviously these campaigns are not working.
“The city council and SNP Government should be putting every effort into clearing up our streets and not making Edinburgh a laughing stock as Europe’s dumping ground.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Environment Convener at Edinburgh Council, said: “Over the last three years we have been providing new recycling collections to make it easier for residents to recycle their household waste leading to an increase in the number of collections we carry out.
“With approximately 480,000 collections taking place each week in the city, these customer complaints translates to roughly 0.2% of collections.
“The new service has actually been a great success with high levels of participation and increased amount of waste being recycled and less and less going to landfill.
“Landfilling waste costs the Council £120 a ton so the fact that we are now recycling 43% of the city’s waste represents a saving of millions of pounds a year.
“We would really like to thank the residents of Edinburgh for their support and for helping to make our recycling service such a success.
“We will continue to look at ways to help residents to continue reduce and recycle their waste and also improve our collections service and minimise complaints.”