Edinburgh residents can now recycle plastic bottles and old batteries using the council's kerbside pick-up. From this Monday, 31 January, plastic bottles will be picked up from the red kerbside boxes while batteries will be picked up from the blue kerbside boxes for recycling.
The initiative follows the announcement of a pilot food waste project from April 2011, which will see food scraps picked up from 20,000 Edinburgh households in Edinburgh's city centre and the East of the city.
“We are really stepping up our recycling activity in Edinburgh," said Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader.
People can currently recycle their household batteries at some shops and the Council Community Recycling Centres (CRCs), but this will be the first time that batteries can be recycled through kerbside recycling.
There are pressing environmental reasons for reducing waste. Batteries leach toxic chemicals into the soil. Plastic does not break down easily in the environment, yet we continue to create a mountain of plastic and old batteries every day. (A recent UK Government survey (YouGov) revealed that 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK, which is around 15 million bottles per day.)
Edinburgh City Council currently spends over £7m per year on landfill tax, a figure that will increase to £12m by 2014 if the city continues to maintain its current volume of waste.
Where do old batteries go to die?
A 2010 survey by the European Recycling Platform found that nearly half of the UK population had never recycled a battery, with 29 per cent of those saying that they did not even know that batteries could be recycled.
The study also revealed that there is a lack of knowledge about where batteries could be taken to be recycled.
In the UK, only about three to five per cent of all household batteries are recycled. Most old batteries end up in landfill.
Edinburgh has a target of increasing recycling to 75% by 2020. This includes specific targets, set by the Scottish government, of separate food waste collections to be introduced by 2013; a ban on recyclable waste from landfill by 2015; and a ban on biodegradable waste from landfill from 2017.