Leaders: ‘Don’t recycle and you will be punished’

From today, residents in Edinburgh face the threat of warning letters and £50 fines if they leave surplus black rubbish bags on the street next to their wheelie bins.

The message from the city council is clear: those who fail to accept the responsibility of recycling will be punished.

Until now, the council has tried to encourage recycling by pointing out the benefits to the environment. This has been largely successful; the amount of rubbish being recycled in the Capital has steadily increased in the last 12 months.

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There is also a financial benefit to the city which shouldn’t be overlooked. Rubbish that goes to landfill costs the council in payments to the EU.

The – somewhat troubled – move to fortnightly collections is part of the change to reduce landfill.

This was the carrot. Now comes the stick.

Officials believe it is unfair that some households are taking time to sort their waste while other simply ignore this responsibility.

So those who continue to overfill their bins will have their bags tagged and left at the roadside. A dozen new environmental wardens will help enforce the rules.

How this goes down will depend on the implementation. Scores of fines to householders in the first month would provoke a backlash, but the council has recognised that a phased approach is best.

So residents will be warned, warned again and will have the right to appeal if they have special circumstances.

The result, should be, that only the minority of hardcore offenders who are repeatedly ignoring official warnings will land themselves with a £50 fine.

Spend some pennies

the course of the European debate has just changed in Edinburgh.

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The big issue now is should we adopt continental-style pissoirs as a cheap fix to the problem of so many young men relieving themselves against trees in the Meadows? The answer has to come down to a matter of style.

Going Dutch is out of the question. The cheap plastic urinals used in Amsterdam’s red light district look far too tacky and offer far too little privacy for Edinburgh tastes.

But the more discreet Parisian versions can provide enough of a shield to spare the blushes of those using the facilities and passers-by. We say oui to them.