Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Aiport


“Since employing SWR to manage our waste, we have seen our recycling levels increase; as a result costs have been controlled effectively and Green Business objectives met. We are delighted with the service SWR has delivered over the past five years and have recently renewed our contract”

Danny Quinn, Head of Engineering, Edinburgh Airport Ltd


Edinburgh Airport is Scotland’s busiest airport serving 11 million passengers each year. Over 600 people are directly employed and with their partner businesses operating on campus the total number of employees is 7,000. The airport generates around 2,000 tonnes of waste a year from; general maintenance, catering and retail operations.

The issues


Aiming to be a pioneering ‘Green Business’, Edinburgh Airport has extensive CSR commitments in place, which sit alongside financial profitability in importance. Many of these long term goals are based around minimising their environmental footprint. An ambitious objective to increase onsite recycling levels and to process the remaining waste to reach 80% diversion from landfill by 2020.


SWR’s solution

By looking at the waste situation in its entirety at the start of the partnership in 2011, SWR identified the most effective financial, operational and environmental waste solutions for the airport.

An audit of the waste being generated identified that there was scope for significant improvement; part of the problem was that accountability and onsite management of the waste areas was poor. The potential cost benefits were modelled, taking into account the lower collection fees for segregated waste
and reduced container requirements for mixed waste.

The results clearly showed that savings could be generated to cover two Recycling Officers to manage and process all waste across the estate. This solution ensured continued improvement in segregation rates
and dedicated resource.

Communication and Staff Engagement
SWR provides regular updates and inform key stakeholders about the waste management service and the impact on improving practices within the airport. The Recycling Officers have become ‘agents of best practice’, providing coaching to individual staff on waste management practices and trouble-shooting issues within the waste procedures.

Edinburgh Airport has a dedicated SWR Account Manager; part of their role is to provide regular reports on the types and volumes of waste produced across the site, as well as posters highlighting the carbon saving results each month which are a simple visual reminder of the progress being made.

The results


  • SWR has transformed the airport’s recycling performance, supporting its sustainability policy and helping it to achieve its long term objectives. Furthermore, SWR has steered the airport to compliance of the new ‘Zero Waste Scotland’ legislation well ahead of the deadline.
  • 2015 Annual onsite segregation levels are at 62% an increase of 40% since the start of the contract
  • Single source segregation of 9 waste streams has been implemented
  • 100% of waste diverted from landfill in 2015. Development of a unique and highly effective waste yard recycling model which has been replicated at another UK airport


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