Zero Waste Scotland called for proposals for urban focused projects to work closely with the community to deliver transformational change to achieve Scotland’s national targets for zero waste. These include: achieving a household recycling rate of 70% by 2025, reducing food waste by 33% by 2025 and reducing total final energy consumption by 12% by 2020. Projects awarded funding will complement those already funded in Dunbar (rural project) and Bute (island project). 

Changeworks proposed Leith, an area of Edinburgh with a strong local identity and particular waste and resource use challenges. Over a four month period the community told us what their priorities are and what they would like to see change. This enabled Changeworks to develop an approach that is owned by Leithers and with potential for lasting change. 


Over 400 people in Leith: householders, community groups, local ‘influencers’, businesses and the local authority, provided us with information, input and ideas, by engaging in our surveys, focus groups and interviews. This input proved invaluable in building on our knowledge of waste in Leith, learning what issues are important to people, and what action they wanted to see. 

We used this feedback, and our own and community experience, to create a full project proposal for a ‘Zero Waste Leith’. Our proposed Zero Waste Leith addresses all waste streams: recycling, re-use, repair, sharing, litter and fly-tipping, and food waste. Activity is rooted in the community and relies on community involvement through volunteer support, skills building, and partnership working with community groups, schools, businesses, local charities and social enterprises in Leith.  


We have been overwhelmed by the input and ideas the community gave us for Zero Waste Leith, and are encouraged by the passion from individuals and partners to help us make transformational change happen in Leith. People we spoke to told us: 

“I hope this happens!”, “Changeworks this is great!”, “Let’s do it!”, “SO EXCITING!!!”, “It’s a great idea and I would definitely like to get involved”. 

If awarded funding, we know we have the support of the community because everyone we spoke to wants Leith to be a clean and vibrant place where nothing is wasted. Our proposal is now with Zero Waste Scotland. We are waiting to see if Zero Waste Leith will be successful in being awarded £300K to support our activities over the next two and a half years. This funding would be part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which is administered by Zero Waste Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government and part funded under the European Regional Development Fund.


“We see this as benefiting Lorne Primary and our surrounding community a great deal. The expertise provided by Changeworks will help us establish strong links between school, home and the local area as well as providing case studies for other primary schools.”

Bruce Murray, Headteacher, Lorne Primary School

Find out more about our work with local authorities, businesses, schools and communities to reduce waste.