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Energy and Sustainability

With rising energy and waste costs, tougher environmental legislation and higher stakeholder expectations, organisations are increasingly focusing their attention on improving practices to both enhance performance and demonstrate responsible behaviour.

Here at Edinburgh Leisure we are committed to minimising our impact on the local environmental via continuous improvement in environmental performance. We are seeking to develop an ethos of environmental responsibility amongst our staff as well as in the management of our venues and services. 

We are part of the Carbon Reduction Commitment which is a Governmental scheme that aims to improve energy efficiency within businesses. We have a target to reduce our carbon emissions by 5% each year and plan to achieve this by both improving the efficiency of our equipment and implementing our Green Plan. 

Edinburgh Leisure is committed to making our city a healthier, greener and more sustainable place to live. Achieving sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment is not an individual effort, it needs the commitment of all our staff and customers. 

We envisage a future where Edinburgh is not only an active, healthy city but can provide a clean, green and sustainable environment for everyone. We are committed to making a positive difference by reducing our impact on the environment and becoming resource efficient. Every site has a Green Champion who heads their Green Team and oversees the implementation of initiatives throughout their centre. 

To ensure this is engrained throughout our company, a comprehensive Green Plan has been implemented. The plan comprises of 10 key sections which includes; energy, water, travel and consumption. 

When it comes to waste, we strive to recycle as much as possible - at present we consistently recycle over 70%. We have set a target to divert 80% of our waste from landfill by the end of 2020 and will achieve this through recycling more.  Our recycling and waste disposal contractor use a refuse derived fuel collection service to extract recycling material from our general waste with the remainder which is shredded and dehydrated to produce a fuel source used to generate electricity.

Our Green Plan

Operations at each of our venues may impact adversely on the surrounding environment so our Green Plan sets out a few simple changes we make to reduce this impact to the minimum. Regular league tables are produced by our Energy and Sustainability team.


Recycling is much cheaper than simply putting everything in landfill. In 2010 we diverted 5% of our waste from landfill, this has now increased to over 70% in 2018 with the remaining made into refuse derived fuel. Our target is to recycle 80% of our waste from landfill.


Finalists in VIBES 2014 (Scottish Environment Business Awards) in the Large Business category, Winners of the VIBES Green Team Award in 2016, finalists of the VIBES Engaging Scotland Award in 2019. The awards recognise and showcase best practice in efficient resource use, reduced environmental impact and sustainable development. 

We've all seen the news and nature programmes highlighting the amount of plastic waste which ends up in the ocean. We would like to do our bit to help and have decided to stop the use of blue pool shoes as well as other single use plastics such as cups and straws. For FAQs, click here.

Bring a reusable cup to any Café Refresh and save 15p on any hot drink.

Last year, at least 2.5 billion coffee cups were put to landfill in the UK. That’s enough to stretch around the planet nearly five and a half times!

If all our customers who came in for a hot drink decided to use a reusable cup instead of a disposable, this would help Edinburgh Leisure divert 2,500 kilograms of waste going straight to landfill (that saves 18 tonnes of CO2 going into the atmosphere!). 

At Edinburgh Leisure we view waste as a resource not to be discarded and we try to recycle as much as possible. All our buildings have recycling facilities, many of which as fully segregated systems. This is part of Waste (Scotland) Regulation 2012, which came into force in January 2014. 

Currently Edinburgh Leisure recycles over 70% of our waste from landfill. Our waste contactor, intercepts the remaining waste which is sorted and recyclable items are recovered. The remainder’s processed to become Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). RDF is a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste, mainly biodegradable waste and plastics. This can then be used to generate electricity. Doing this decreases the amount of waste going to landfill and has significantly lower carbon emissions. By recycling and using RDF 100% of our waste is diverted from landfill. 

We are constantly reviewing our ways of working to see if there is a more sustainable option.  We have a dedicated team which monitors and controls the conditions within our venues. This is done to make sure the environment suits the specific activity. We can monitor this remotely and the system automatically responds to temperature changes outside to ensure we maintain the conditions internally. 

In 2012 we estimated that Edinburgh Leisure used over 2.2 million plastic cups a year! That is a lot of plastic, which was recycled but we ultimately aimed not to consume the materials in the first place. All sites have now removed plastic cups from their gym areas Thank you to all our customers who supported our decision to do this.

We also aim to minimise printing by using the web, app and email to provide as much easy to find information as possible. 

 In travel surveys conducted at 10 of our venues, we asked over 5,000 customers how they travelled to our sites.

We found that 52% of customers drove to our venues. This varies from only 8% at Dalry Swim Centre to 75% at Gracemount Leisure Centre. The remaining 48% took less carbon intensive modes of transport such taking the bus, cycling or walking.

We encourage all staff and customers to travel to and from our centres in environmentally friendly ways. 

We promote sustainable travel to all our staff. Many have taken advantage of the Bike to Work initiative and have set up car sharing schemes to reduce the emissions associated with cars. 

The majority of our centres are on key cycle routes. Download the Innertube Map for Edinburgh City Cycleways or more detailed maps showing quiet cycle routes via the QuietRoutes maps which splits Edinburgh into eight areas. 

For more information on sustainable travel, including an app that tracks carbon saved and calories burned see Greener Scotland