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Edinburgh City Council Midlothian

Recycling and Reduction on the Up - Survey Reveals Forward Looking Attitudes to Waste Treatment

04 May 2010

Survey results released today show that the majority of residents in Edinburgh and Midlothian are recycling regularly and doing more to reduce the amount of waste they produce.  4 out of 5 people now recycle, however some groups could be recycling more.  18 to 29 year olds were identified as the age group least likely to recycle.

Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian recently commissioned Keep Scotland Beautiful to undertake a survey to gain better understanding of the general public's attitudes towards waste.

When questioned about the future of waste treatment, responses showed the majority of the public understand the need to move away from landfilling of waste and the benefits of using a mix of technologies in order to treat waste as a resource in the future.  70 per cent of respondents were positive about using Energy from Waste as an alternative to landfill.

Midlothian Councillor Russell Imrie, said; "The majority of our residents are keen recyclers and use the services the Council provides to do their part in protecting the environment.  Progress has been very encouraging to date and we'll be using this research to shape our future waste strategies to make sure we treat our waste in the most sustainable way possible."

Edinburgh Councillor Robert Aldridge said; "This research is extremely useful for us in identifying what the public want and what our priorities should be.  We'll be looking at targeting groups who aren't recycling as much as they could, we're currently asking everyone to increase their recycling by 1kg a week, so it would be great if some of the non-recyclers out there might take this opportunity to start with the equivalent to one bag of sugar.

"I'm very pleased to see the popularity of recycling in the city as well as the efforts being made to reduce the amount of waste being produced. It is encouraging to know there is high satisfaction with the services we provide, particularly our recycling centres."

Dr Nicki Souter from  Keep Scotland Beautiful, said; "We undertook this survey to establish the attitudes of the people of Edinburgh and Midlothian to how the Council handles waste and what it plans to do with residual waste.  The information that has been gleaned around residual waste treatment is really useful for us.  The national Zero Waste Plan will be published later this year and will go a long way to helping us all treat our waste more sustainably as is clearly the public's desire too."

Key findings are listed in the notes below and the report is available by contacting Kelly Murphy, Communications Manager for Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian on 0131 5297856 or

The full survey results and report will be published on


Notes to Editors

Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian is a joint project between the two Councils, which has been set up to help deliver the Scottish Government's aspiration for a Zero Waste Scotland.  The Project will work alongside and complement the extensive waste reduction, re-use and recycling activities of both Councils.  Whilst both Councils continue year on year to increase their recycling rates, a treatment facility is required to deal with the residual municipal waste.

This survey was commissioned by the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils to question a representative sample of the population to identify current waste management behaviour as well as attitudes to a range of waste management services.  455 people were surveyed throughout Edinburgh (406) and Midlothian (49) between December and February last.

Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian is about to enter into a procurement process to identify a suitable contractor to deliver a residual waste treatment solution.  A project site, a disused marshalling yard near Millerhill, has been identified.  An application for planning permission in principle will be lodged in May for the site.

Key findings;

Of the 455 surveyed
- 58 per cent are actively trying to reduce the amount of waste they produce
- 82 per cent recycle
- 98 per cent of recycling centre users are happy with the service
- 65 per cent stated that developing a Zero Waste Parc at Millerhill was either 'acceptable' or 'very acceptable'
- 77 per cent agreed that the concept of a Zero Waste Parc was either a 'very good' or 'good' idea
- 96 per cent agreed utilising heat produced from waste treatment for local homes was a good idea
- 70 per cent were positive about using Energy from Waste as an alternative to landfill