It’s been a busy year for our exciting and pioneering Zero Waste Leith project – and it shows no signs of slowing down. Zero Waste Leith is community-led, having been shaped by the opinions and ideas of local people, businesses and organisations. The project is working to deliver real change and leave a lasting legacy of action on waste in Leith (and beyond), across four main themes:

In this blog, Hannah, our Zero Waste Leith Co-ordinator, shares Zero Waste Leith’s biggest successes so far, the key actions Leithers would like to see happen this year, our plans and how you can get involved.

We are running 10 different projects as part of Zero Waste Leith – here are a few stories about our most successful.


flagship project to help Leithers tackle flytipping by raising awareness of alternative solutions and saying to dumpers: ‘not in our neighbourhood’. It resulted in an initial 47 per cent decrease in flytipping and 76 per cent less furniture on the target streets which was still sustained six months later. Six months later people also said that flytipping was now less of a problem and 61 per cent said this was due to increased public awareness.

Zero Waste Leith Business Charter

Launched in August 2018, our business charter is building a network of Leith businesses who are going green. So far 92 businesses have joined, and a further 138 are interested in taking part. Since joining the charter and receiving our support, 88 per cent of businesses surveyed say they have reduced waste and 59 per cent are recycling more.

Reuse Showhome

We collaborated with over 40 partners and contributors to bring two pop-up spaces to Leith which showcased reused, repaired and upcycled furniture and homewares. Most recently in June 2019 our showhome in Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre was visited by more than 900 people in one week, and more than 100 people benefited from free workshops led by our makers who shared their repair and upcycling skills.

Learning Together workshops

We teamed up with Pilmeny Development Project to offer a series of zero waste activities which bring together generations of Leithers to learn and share. Watch our short film about the ‘make do and mend’ session which was led by the Edinburgh Remakery for pupils from St Mary’s (RC) Primary and Manderston Court sheltered housing.

What’s next?

When we asked residents back in January what they wanted the Zero Waste Leith project to focus on in 2019, the most popular response was “make recycling easier for residents”. We plan on doing this in several ways, including installing new neighbourhood noticeboards and posters with recycling information, running a campaign around food waste, and making a series of videos following household items along the recycling journey.

Our survey also showed that Leithers were less aware of how sharing our skills and our stuffcan help us reach zero waste, relative to other actions such as recycling. We plan to change this by creating a new reuse and repair online map, which will connect residents with local tailors and fixers. We’re also planning a furniture amnesty and block party to share items in our streets, and promoting existing sharing networks such as the Broughton-Leith share.

We’ll also be rolling out the Flyspotting campaign to 12 new streets in Leith who are still struggling with flytipping, building on our Earth week litter picks and business engagements with a new engaging campaign that targets cigarette butt litter, and working with business charter members on a one-to-one basis to help them go zero waste.

Get Involved

We are excited to be getting stuck into these new plans and hope you’ll join us! Be part of the zero-waste movement in Leith: