Net Zero Challenge aims to encourage citizen action across the city

Edinburgh’s residents and businesses are being urged to follow the lead of the city’s young people in taking action on climate change by joining the Council’s new Net Zero Challenge – as COP26 climate talks get underway in Scotland.

Pupils at St Peter’s RC Primary school to the south of the city centre are growing produce in the school vegetable garden for use in meals and snacks, as part of the school-wide approach to support the city’s 2030 net zero target.

Pumpkins grown in the school’s vegetable garden have been used to make pumpkin muffins, apples have been turned into chutney, and other seasonal produce such as leeks and potatoes for soup. Food recycling is commonplace at the school with waste turned into compost for the vegetable garden to nurture new crops.

Pupils also turn non-recyclable plastic items such as crisp packets and snack wrappers into ‘ecobricks’. After washing the wrappers, the pupils cut them into small pieces and stuff them tightly into used bottles. The ecobricks are collected and can be joined together to make furniture and in structures for gardens and play parks.

Inspired by the pupils actions the City of Edinburgh Council is calling on people of all ages, and businesses, to follow their example and take part in the Net Zero Challenge and highlight through social media what they are doing to cut their carbon emissions using the #MyClimateAction hashtag.

Edinburgh residents and businesses are being encouraged to measure their carbon footprint to discover where they can take climate action in their personal life, with advice and support on hand at

Participants taking up the Net Zero Challenge can visit which features ideas on how residents and business can make a difference – such as:

• calculating your carbon footprint
• looking at the way you heat and power your home to make it more energy efficient
• choosing public transport or trips by foot or bike
• thinking about what you buy and where you buy it from to make things last.

Council leader Adam McVey said:

“Edinburgh’s young people are strongly advocating for change and explaining why we need to tackle climate change to secure their future. We know our residents and businesses understand the need to change to get to net-zero.

“Awareness of climate change and the impacts on our city has never been higher, but we know from recent climate consultations that some people are still unsure of where they can start taking action.

“Measuring your carbon footprint is free and easy to do. And it lets you know the areas of life where you can make the biggest impact on your personal emissions.

“With COP26 taking place in Scotland, this is the perfect opportunity for all of us across our Capital to work together and take steps to cut our emissions. By all working together we can make a difference and hit net-zero by 2030 and secure the future of our children and grandchildren.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day added:

“Hitting Edinburgh’s net zero target by 2030 is something that everyone who lives and works in the city will need to play their part in. That’s why it’s really it’s great to see the pupil’s at St Peter’s leading the way on climate action within their school as small changes do add up as we all do something different.

“That’s why we’ve launched the Net Zero Challenge as a quick and easy way to find out how you can help make a difference and create a cleaner, greener city.
Because we all have a responsibility to act now and play our part in protecting our city for generations to come.”

Teacher Catherine McCabe, who helps lead St Peter’s sustainable activities, said:

“Taking steps to be more sustainable and cutting our carbon footprint has become part of daily life at school. Whether it’s growing food in our vegetable garden, making compost from food waste or turning crisp wrappers into building blocks that can be used in making furniture, the kids are so involved in playing their part, from nursery and as they move through the school.

“It’s really inspiring to see the children getting so hands-on at this age and developing such good habits they can carry through their lives and, along the way, inspire others in the city to do their bit to take action on climate change.”