Zero Waste Leeds

Zero Waste Leeds wants to reduce the amount of waste generated locally throughout the city with reduce, reuse and recycle campaigns and programmes that change people's behaviour.

5,000
Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

Social Business Brokers CIC is a Leeds-based social enterprise that was set up in 2010. We started exploring opportunities around waste in 2017 as we wanted to explore how to get involved in local approaches to tackling climate change.

Initially, we explored three issues – transport, energy, waste – and in the end decided that waste looked like the one where we could do something. We got £20k funding from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to explore ideas and established Zero Waste Leeds, becoming a local partner of #LeedsByExample.

We want to build a movement to:
• Change how we think about “waste” in Leeds;
• Champion and promote all the fantastic things that are already happening;
• Support new ideas to flourish;
• Help people to join up with others to do more.

We are doing this through a number of different ways, with online resources e.g. a zero-waste directory; with offline events, workshops and talks; and in collaboration with social enterprises, community groups, the Council, public sector, businesses...

We are focusing on four key themes to encourage behaviour change:
• Recycling
• Food Waste
• Garden Waste
• Stuff

Some projects we have developed include reusable coffee cups with indie coffee shops; plastic reduction and recycling at events and festivals; supporting plastic-free workplaces by building on the pledges by the Council, Universities and others.

What have you learnt that others will find most useful?

  • Many people want to do the right thing – but you need to make it easy (but that’s not easy).
  • You need infrastructure AND good marketing.
  • There’s real value in talking to others exploring same issues.
  • Be ambitious, be impatient, but be pragmatic too.

Measures of success?

Public awareness. Reduced quantities of recycled materials. Participation in re-use and sharing schemes.

Read more: https://www.zerowasteleeds.org.uk/

Rob Greenland
Zero Waste Leeds