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21 February 2006

Barrett backing ‘one bin day’

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, will today be taking part in a day long experiment designed to highlight the need to reduce everyday waste as part of the fight against climate change.

‘One Bin Day’, organised by Envirowise, aims to encourage businesses across Scotland to restrict the availability of office bins for the day as part of a Scotland-wide initiative. Participating firms will be encouraged to remove all but one bin from the office in order to highlight the environmental and financial costs of everyday office waste.

Mr Barrett’s own Drum Brae constituency office will today be taking part in the initiative.

John Barrett said:

“In recent years we have seen steady improvements in levels of household recycling and many businesses already operate innovative recycling and waste management programmes. However, too many continue to throw away vast quantities of unnecessary waste every year.

“Research suggests that the average Scottish worker uses around 50 sheets of paper every day. It is important that campaigns such as this help highlight the need for business to operate in a less wasteful manner.

“The potential benefits of cutting down on waste are huge with many businesses spending up to 4% of their turnover generating waste. Through this initiative local businesses can save themselves money while doing their bit to tackle climate change.

“It is all too easy to think that only politicians and world leaders can tackle climate change. However it is important that businesses and individuals all play a part in helping to cut down on waste levels.”

John Barrett - one bin day

Envirowise Programme Manager for Scotland, Alan Hendry, added:

“Businesses throw away a staggering quantity of unnecessary waste every year. In our experience a lot of office waste in particular is thrown in the bin because, for busy office workers, the bin is often the quickest and most convenient place to ‘file’ unwanted items from paper to plastic cups.

“Unfortunately, very few firms realise just how costly this habit of convenience can be, in both financial and environmental terms. We hope that participating in One Bin Day will help firms to reassess these wasteful habits and understand the benefits of changing their ways.

“I would encourage firms to use One Bin Day as a starting point to look at waste in all areas. I think many will be surprised at what they find, and at the savings they can make.”


A free online savings calculator is available from Envirowise at allowing office-based businesses to simply input a few basic details to reveal what sort of savings they could make on costs such as paper, ink, waste disposal, water, heating and transport. The website also includes information on how to arrange a free, confidential visit from an Envirowise expert to help identify low cost, high value solutions and help get a resource efficiency programme started.

Envirowise delivers a programme of confidential advice to UK businesses. This advice enables businesses to improve profitability and reduce environmental impact. Independent, practical and proven guidance is available through a helpline, information resources and on site visits delivered by a national team of expert advisors. Each solution is driven by the specific needs of individual firms to genuinely improve their business practices, profitability and competitiveness. Since 1994, Envirowise has helped UK industry save over £1.3 billion.

The Envirowise programme is available to any UK business, completely free of charge. For more information visit or call 0800 585 794.

One Bin Day participating firms will be asked to remove from the office all but one bin. This will have two intended effects:

  • It will remove the convenience of having a bin next to every desk, so staff will have to think about the way they deal with unwanted items, rather than simply dropping them into their own personal bins without a second thought.
  • Secondly if staff stick to their normal routine, a single bin will quickly become full and overflow, creating a very visual illustration of the level of waste being generated on a daily basis.

General Information on Business Waste:

  • An estimated 1.6 billion sheets of paper are used every month by office workers across Scotland - enough to reach the moon laid end-to-end.
  • Paper usage is rising UK-wide by around 20% every year.
  • The average office worker in Scotland uses approximately 50 sheets of paper every day.


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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.