Freshers’ Bin Strikes: the good, the bad and the potential

Courtney Duncan
Thursday 1 September 2022

As the bin strikes in Edinburgh draw to a close, strikes in Fife are set to begin.

Starting the 6th (Freshers’ week Tuesday) until the 13th of September, Fife household and street litter bins will not be collected, and commercial waste collections may be affected. While this will cause further strain on the University’s resources as we try to keep on top of an already waste intense period of the year, there is also room for positivity. This may be the push that we all need to seriously rethink how we shop, and re-evaluate our own production of waste. Below, we have put together a quick essentials guide with the information you need to know regarding the bin strikes, how you can change your daily and weekly habits, as well as how you can encourage others to do the same.


The Need To Know…

Dates of strike: 6th – 13th September (Occurring over Freshers’ Week)

Affected household bin collections: Landfill, Food Waste, and Paper & Cardboard

Recycling Centre Update: It is unclear whether the recycling centre will remain open, and thus you should not rely on this as a method of waste/recycling disposal.

Your Mission Should You Choose To Accept…

During these 8 days, your behaviours and the way we encourage others to act will dictate the cleanliness and tidiness of our town. While the actions below are encouraged to be part of your ongoing daily lives, it is imperative we integrate them this week!

  1. Bring Your Own Reusables – whether this is a cup/mug, container, cutlery or shopping bags, please bring your own to town even if you are not planning on buying anything; you never know when a coffee or cake craving might strike and it’s best not to be caught out!
  2. Thoughtful Shoppingask yourself, do I really need this, or is there a better option? A lot of the time, we buy something on the spur of the moment, and a lot of the time, once discarded, these products or their packaging can cause unnecessary waste. If you would really like something, have a mooch around and see if you can find something similar but with less packaging! When buying food, try to opt for loose items or buy from refill shops.
  3. Take a Break, Take a Plate – we seem to be in the age of the “go, go, go” mentality, rushing from place to place, unable to take a break. If you do happen to be eyeing up a delicious sandwich or find yourself drifting towards a coffee shop – the scent of roasted coffee beans drawing you in – then pull up a chair and take a break… followed by a seat, plate and bite. The simple action of enjoying food and drinks in, means less takeaway packaging waste – lest you forget your reusables.
  4. Take a Bite, Take It Back… Home – to prevent street litter bins from over-flowing, if you do create any waste, please take it back home with you to dispose of. While household bins will not be collected, they will be easier to self-manage and allow central bins to remain clearer.
  5. Stop, Drop & Straighten – as we probably all know, a tidier pile is an easier pile, to manage, collect, and clean. We may find that rubbish, or cardboard is left out on the streets as bins start to fill. If you need to leave cardboard piles, please make sure this is left as orderly as possible to ensure future collections can be conducted smoothly, and streets remain tidy.
  6. A Plan To Rule Them All – when it comes down to it the best thing you can do to reduce you waste is to plan. Plan whether you are going to be eating out or in; plan your shopping so that you only buy what you need; plan what reusables you need to bring around with you (hint: we recommend a cup, container, cutlery, and bags on hand at all times).
  7. Make It A Habit, Make It A Lifestyle – over the next week and beyond it will take individual and collective action for us to manage our waste. Informing others about how they can make better habits is one of the most important actions you can take. Please take the time to share this information around, as well as politely ask people to be thoughtful with their waste if you see them around.

I hope this has provided some food for thought and has prompted you to change some of your daily habits. The arrival of students will make this time more challenging, but if we share our resources and help each other, we can ride the storm!

Please get in contact with me (Courtney Duncan) if you have any questions. [email protected]

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