Changeworks was awarded funding from Zero Waste Scotland to conduct a feasability study into a future community project aimed at reducing the usage of disposable items, such as coffee cups and single-use food containers. Changeworks selected the neighbourhood of Portobello and Joppa as the target area for the proposed project. Portobello and Joppa are popular beach areas in Edinburgh with many food and drink businesses catering to both locals and tourists and have a strong sense of community. 

Over the course of the initial five-week consultation, we contacted all the independent food and drink businesses in the area and asked what would work for them and what they think would appeal to their customers. We also heard from many of the residents on what would encourage them to move away from disposable items, and engaged with a number of local campaigns and community groups on how we can partner to deliver an impactful project.

To further inform the study, we also carried out research into the demographics of the Portobello and Joppa community and into what other organisations have done in the past to tackle the issue. Finally, to get a sense of the scale of the problem, we carried out bin monitoring of the litter bins along the promenade and obtained litter data from the Marine Conservation Society on the composition of litter they collect from Portobello beach.

Overall, we were able to get the views of 240 people and organisations:

  • 23 businesses and 192 of their customers responded to our bespoke surveys
  • We conducted in-depth interviews with 10 stakeholders in the project, including one of the local councillors, the council waste officer for the locality, as well as businesses, community organisers and customers
  • We received expressions of support on the project from 15 community groups and campaigns

As a result of this feasability study, Changeworks was awarded further funding from Zero Waste Scotland to deliver this future project in Portobello and Joppa. The project will involve developing a business charter for local hospitality and food service businesses and providing them – and their customers – with support to move away from disposable items to reusable ones. The community responded very positively to the consultation, so the final project will benefit from the support and engagement of local people, community groups and businesses.