Guest post: Scotland’s capital is going Zero Waste

The big vision for a Zero Waste Edinburgh kickstarted with a festival dedicated to ending waste.

Edinburgh, Wednesday 7th March – Zero Waste Edinburgh launched on Wednesday evening with a festival of Zero Waste, to highlight the 82 tonnes of waste from central Edinburgh that goes into landfill every week.

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Zero Waste Man Robbie is on a mission to make Edinburgh free of waste Photo – Zaneta Nowak 

The festival included live entertainment, interactive upcycling workshops, and a swapshop where guests swapped their pre-loved books and clothes. The organisation also showcased their plans for a food sharing hub with a buffet of rescued food, saved from being thrown in the bin. Local people from across the city were packed into the Assembly Roxy where volunteers filled the room with recycled bunting and handmade decorations to create a true festival atmosphere.

Jill Farrell (Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland):
“I was delighted to speak at the launch of Zero Waste Edinburgh and meet all those involved at this fantastic event, with their tremendous energy and enthusiasm for tackling waste and environmental issues locally. Zero Waste Scotland understands the power of community action on issues like encouraging recycling and tackling food waste, and that’s why we are backing communities with the drive to make change happen. I’m excited about what’s happening in Edinburgh and look forward to seeing what people can achieve on these crucial projects.”

The event was organised to promote Zero Waste Edinburgh’s four projects aimed at dramatically reducing waste in the centre of the city. The organisation plan on creating a Food Sharing Hub to distribute surplus food from supermarkets to local people who need it, funded by a ‘pay as you feel’ model. In the spring, they will run a ‘Material Matters’ workshop programme themed around textiles, bicycles, electronics and furniture that will create new upcycling social enterprises.

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Models show off their upcycled outfits. Photo – Andrzej Suchodolski 

The event welcomed to the stage Jill Farrell (Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland), David Anderson (Head of European Structural Funds, Scottish Government) and Environmental Storyteller, Mark Borthwick. The night also included the big screen premiere of two impressive films produced by Shrub’s Volunteers.

Laurie King (Food Sharing Hub Coordinator):

“Edinburgh is well on the way to being one of the UK’s leading cities on tackling food waste issues. Its Food Sharing network is flourishing, helping many of Edinburgh’s small businesses redistribute their excess into hungry tummies instead of unnecessarily going to the landfill. The network continues to grow: this year, supermarkets will finally be welcomed into the food sharing family”

In May, they will set up end of term collection points on high-density student streets to reduce fly-tipping and giving their unwanted stuff away to next year’s incoming students. Finally, a network of Zero Waste Advocates will be created to link businesses and community groups across the city, to support each other in reducing their own waste.

Zero Waste Edinburgh welcome anyone who would like to join their project to get in touch at or to follow them on Facebook and Twitter .

The issue:

Each week, central Edinburgh sends 82 tonnes of waste to landfill. Recent headlines around single-use plastic packaging and the ‘Blue Planet effect’ have not been lost on the local people of Edinburgh. Research conducted by Zero Waste Edinburgh found that 58% of the local community are actively interested in reducing their waste. Tickets for the event sold out in just a few days taking the organisers by surprise, while a waiting list of local people desperate to attend grew to almost 200.

About Zero Waste Edinburgh:

We’re on a mission to make Edinburgh a zero waste city. Over the next 2 years, we’ll be working with the 36,000 residents, business owners and students in the southside of Edinburgh’s Old Town to establish long-lasting strategies to reduce waste. Zero Waste Edinburgh is a project coordinated by the SHRUB Coop, and was awarded £300,000 in funding by Zero Waste Scotland and the European Regional Development Fund until March 2020.

About Zero Waste Scotland:

Zero Waste Scotland exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. Our goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources. We are funded to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. The Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme Fund is administered by Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. It is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme.

For further information visit the website or follow @scotgovESIF. More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland though via our social media channels –Twitter | Facebook | Google Plus | LinkedIn

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