Bin collections: 'You might need a diary to keep up with the rota'

PUTTING your bins out for collection on the right day sounds like the simplest thing in the world.

Not so long ago that certainly was true – but not so much any more.

With many city homes now issued with four different bins for various types of waste, you might even need a diary to keep up with the rota.

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For that reason alone the council needs to be sensible when it comes to imposing 50 fines for mistakes.

The council says fines are never issued without warnings being given first, and it denies there has been any attempt to use them to raise revenue. It says the number of fines has doubled in the last year because extra wardens are patrolling our streets.

That seems fair enough – and businesses which put out rubbish at the wrong times, attracting rats and seagulls, especially need punished.

But more understanding should be given to domestic waste. The new UK Government has signalled a change in balance between the carrot and the stick when it comes to encouraging households to recycle.

The suggestion is that incentives, such as a council tax discount or even shopping vouchers, may prove more effective than fines.

Sticking to the right bin routine could be included in any such scheme that may be developed in Edinburgh.

Brought to book

AS THE News reveals today, this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival will be one of the biggest and most diverse ever.

The authors who will flock to Charlotte Square include two Nobel Laureates and a Booker Prize winner, while best-selling children's author Philip Pullman may prove to be the hottest ticket when he discusses his controversial book about Christ.

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It is an eclectic mix which new festival director Nick Barley will justifiably feel should attract a healthy audience and world attention.

But if we are being picky, isn't it a little disappointing that this year's surprise package is Vidal Sassoon? He hardly thrills like former participants Harold Pinter, Salman Rushdie, Al Gore or (even by video) Norman Mailer.

This may be a minor quibble as Barley takes up the challenge of replacing the formidable Catherine Lockerbie. He may already be thinking about bigger plans for the festival next year – and looking beyond the confines of Charlotte Square might help it get more ambitious.