COMMUNAL wheelie bins will replace black refuse sacks in most of the Old Town within weeks in a move which council chiefs claim will produce a cleaner, greener city centre.
Some streets will get gull-proof canvas sacks instead,
following a series of pilot schemes in the Capital’s World Heritage Site.
But today conservationists claimed the switch from bin bags to giant wheelie bins would simply swap one kind of mess for another.
The wheelie bins and gull-proof bags will be introduced in the Old Town from May 13 and extended to the New Town and the West End during June and July.
The World Heritage Site is the last part of the city where domestic waste is still collected in black bags. A handful of streets – which are judged unsuitable for bins and where there are no railings on which to hang the gull-proof sacks – will retain the black bags for the time being.
Marion Williams, director of heritage group the Cockburn Association, said: “Although it will be great to get rid of the bags, we already know what it’s like to have big wheelie bins. You get stacks of bags and all sorts of refuse around them.
“Whatever you do with bags or bins doesn’t really solve the problem. For a city like ours we ought to have an underground waste storage system. Otherwise, it’s just a different sort of clutter.”
Black bags are vulnerable to being ripped open by birds and vermin, leaving litter all over the street. The council said pilot schemes found 91 per cent of customers were satisfied with communal bins, while 87 per cent were happy with gull-proof bags.
Environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “We have worked very closely with local residents and heritage organisations on the most efficient and acceptable refuse collection system for the city centre, recognising that different areas need different approaches.
“Their views have been carefully balanced with the need to preserve the historic charm of the city centre, the need to ensure that Edinburgh remains as litter-free as possible and the practicalities of providing an efficient waste collection service.”