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Delivering essential services to keep Edinburgh functioning as best it can

Posted: 23rd March 2020

Residents self-isolating due to Coronavirus symptoms in their household are being urged to dispose of their waste as carefully as possible to keep Edinburgh’s bin crews safe.

The advice comes as part of an update from Transport and Environment Convener Lesley Macinnes on how the Council is adapting in the context of the pandemic to deliver core services such as waste management, roadworks and parking to keep the city working as best it can.

Another waste-related update is the suspension of kerbside glass (blue box) collections from Monday 23 March until further notice to free up collection crews. Communal glass bins used in flatted and tenement areas will continue to be serviced, but should only be used by those properties.

Cllr Macinnes, who went to visit a waste collection crew out and about emptying kerbside bins, said: 

These are extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances and inevitably there’s already a strain on our ability to keep core services going at usual levels. We’re doing our very best, though, and we’re appealing to residents to bear with us as we adapt our resources to the fast-changing and increasingly challenging situation. We regret that we’ve had to suspend kerbside glass collections from next week onwards. If you don’t have any space to store them, please help us out by taking any glass bottles or jars to one of our Household Waste Recycling Centres if you’re able to, or offer to do the same for your neighbour. We are all in this together, so we’ll get through it together.

If you or someone in your household is self isolating due to Coronavirus symptoms, please make sure you are scrupulous when putting out your waste so that our bin crews on the front line aren’t needlessly exposed to the virus. We’ve got clear guidance on our website on what to do, and we’ll keep our pages updated for residents to access the latest advice and service information. 

Having met three of our ‘frontline heroes’ in person while they collected bins in west Edinburgh, I’m so impressed by the dedication and commitment they and their colleagues are showing in this extremely challenging and uncertain time – huge thanks to them all, you’re doing Edinburgh proud.


This advice is aimed at people with symptoms that may be caused by Coronavirus, and do not require hospital treatment, who must remain at home until they are well, and those living in households with someone who shows symptoms that may be caused by Coronavirus:

  • Personal waste (such as tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths should be stored securely in a disposable bag and then placed inside another bag
  • Tie it securely and keep it separate from other waste
  • Place it aside for 72 hours and then put it carefully in your grey/black non recyclable waste bin (grey wheelie bins or black-lidded communal waste bins)
  • Other household waste can be disposed of as normal
  • When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.



Residents will be given a dispensation to park in Pay and Display spaces within their permit zones to make it as easy as possible to park near their homes while working from home or self isolating. The Council has also instructed its parking contractor to pay special attention to yellow lines and loading areas so that access for food and essential goods deliveries is protected.


Road defect repairs and capital resurfacing projects are proceeding as normal at present. The situation is being kept under review.

Public Transport

Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses are keeping their customers up to date with information and service changes online and via their social media channels. Both companies have announced that they are moving to a reduced service from Sunday (trams) and Monday (buses).

Cllr Macinnes said: 

We fully support the actions Edinburgh Trams and Lothian Buses are taking given the hugely difficult circumstances we all find ourselves in and I welcome their commitment to providing vital public transport connections for residents who rely on their services.

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