Cargo Bike Movement

Business, Community • City of Edinburgh

Using cargo bikes in and around Edinburgh to redistribute food from supermarket waste streams is part of the transition to a local carbon zero transport system.

  • Cargo bike in action!
  • A cargo bike holding a heavy load.

Our story

Cargo Bike Movement is a Community Interest Company (CIC) that was established amid the Covid-19 pandemic. We deliver surplus food to those in need by cargo bike, integrating sustainability at every step...or pedal!

We quickly noticed the impact that the first UK lockdown had on local food insecurity. With people being accommodated in hotels and shelters, and food banks having to change the way they work, it was a difficult time for everyone. Cue the beginning of the Cargo Bike Movement! We got to work, bringing people and food together for a safer and healthier city.

Weaving a Local Support Network:
- Partnerships were a key part of our success. We connected with local branches of high-street supermarkets who had excess food in stock that would otherwise be wasted.

- We support around 8 local food banks by ensuring food is sourced for them, with some of our riders taking produce straight to these sites. We have also built successful partnerships with charities, such as Shrub Waste Hub and Refugee Community Kitchen, both working in Edinburgh to further distribute produce to another 10 outlets.

Special Delivery!
- Cargo Bike Movement is nothing without our wonderful volunteers. We ensure that all are offered quality training from Cycling Scotland, and then get them out on the bikes, load them up with surplus food and off they pedal, delivering goods to those who need it.

- Cycling is a positive outlet for our volunteers. It's an opportunity to get outdoors and exercise which is especially welcome during lockdown, while making a vital difference to local people. It has bolstered mental health and well-being as well as physical.

- Through Cargo Bike Movement's achievements we are working to build healthier, fairer, greener communities. The food we use could otherwise end up wasted despite being perfectly good to share, because of excess stock. We use zero-emission transport, which is also great for the physical health of our volunteer delivery team.

Our advice

Collaboration is key. Working with local organisations and businesses has been paramount to our success.

Our focus on fair and equal communities must be kept central to our work at all times.

We depend on volunteers to carry out our work, so it is right to invest in training and resources to ensure they feel safe, confident and valued.

Using the cargo bikes, really having them out on the streets, is important for increasing the public profile and normalising the practises we want to see.

Our metrics

Miles we travel on the bikes (to understand how many car journeys have been replaced by cargo bikes).
Amount (weight) of food that is redistributed from supermarket waste streams (to understand emissions 'saved' from not sending this produce to either landfill or incineration, as well as meals provided).
Number of people trained (to understand the impact on people's perception of cargo bikes).

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Response to climate crisis





Business, Community, 10 to 49 people

Shared by

Naomi Arnold

Updated Feb, 2024

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