Susan Doherty, who runs the Hula cafe and juice bar, said she had delayed renewing her licence for outside tables and chairs over fears the ugly black bins would drive away customers.
The bins have “greatly reduced trade” at the cafe, prompting calls for areas popular with tourists to have underground waste containers – like those just metres away in the Grassmarket.
After posting a picture of the bins on social media, Ms Doherty received dozens of messages of support from traders, customers and fans, prompting council leader Andrew Burns to intervene personally.
Hula staff placed a sign between the bins where passing cars and pedestrians could see it, calling on people to contact the council on Twitter to complain. The sign read: “These bins are covering our colourful face – help us move them by tweeting @EdinburghCC”.
Yesterday afternoon, Ms Doherty’s online protest appeared to have paid off, with the council examining whether a new location could be found for the bins.
She told the Evening News: “I am hopeful for and very much looking forward to a solution that doesn’t jeopardise our businesses or any other business.”
Gordon Henderson, east of Scotland development manager at the Federation of Small Business, said joined-up thinking between council departments would stop decisions being taken that harm small businesses.
He said: “We would call for businesses to be considered, and for some lateral thinking to be put in place. If you were looking at what was good for Edinburgh and good for businesses, you wouldn’t park two massive bins the size of a car each right outside a cafe with tables and chairs outside.
“If you had arrived to set that up, surely you would have gone back to your head office and said, hang on a minute, are you sure you want these here?
“Bins have to go somewhere, but they’re unsightly, they smell – underground bins make a lot of sense.”
City environment convener Lesley Hinds said the bins were moved in front of Hula because of a change in road layout, but that talks were being held to find a solution to the dispute.
Cllr Hinds said: “Containerised bins are used to avoid the problems associated with black bags, such as creating mess and attracting vermin. It is often very challenging to find a location within the constraints of a road that suits all local businesses and residents, whilst ensuring that the bins are easily accessible to refuse collection vehicles.
“We are currently in contact with the business owners and are looking to see if moving the bins to an alternative site would be possible.”