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Posted: 16th May 2019

Scottish Rugby is determined to embrace circular economic thinking to convert its massive matchday operations to play a big part in creating a better environment.

And at the same time, the operators of rugby’s national stadium at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh believe the changes they are making will also help increase efficiency.

Introducing re-usable cups for hot and cold drinks were high on the list. Already, recyclable beer cups (introduced for the 2018 Autumn tests) have removed more than 250,000 single use plastics this year.

But Scottish Rugby is also looking at how it disposes of waste, how it reuses materials – for example grass cuttings which are composted – and how players and coaches can help deliver positive circular economic messages.

A circular economy looks to keep the flow of materials and products within the economy for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use.  It’s where businesses, industry and consumers work together to make things last.

A Scottish Rugby spokesperson said: “We’re very supportive of a Circular Economy, minimising waste and maximising the use of materials. At Scottish Rugby we’ve examined ways in which we can reduce our environmental impact, working with suppliers, sponsors and staff.

“It is a complex task, and one we will continue to review and evolve.”

Circular Edinburgh is a joint initiative delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, with funding support from the European Regional Development Fund. The Chamber is delivering a range of local activities to help identify opportunities for local businesses and direct them towards available support and funding.

After match-days at BT Murrayfield, Scottish Rugby segregates the waste at source, which is then further segregated when it gets to waste providers depot with all component parts broken down and recycled. Scottish Rugby has a 0% landfill policy.

The introduction of reusable beer cups means supporters’ cups can be reused at each game – supporters pay a £1 deposit and can return the cup at the end of the day and collect their deposit or take the cup home. Many are choosing to keep the cups.

Scottish Rugby’s spokesperson added: “Scottish Rugby recently examined the introduction of both PLA and oxo-biodegradable single-use cups for this initiative, rather than a rigid recyclable cup, however the waste facilities to allow the separation and correct composting of the former isn’t yet widely available in Scotland.

“Scottish Rugby also continues to examine the remaining single-use-plastics and cardboards in our grounds. This also involves suitable waste-management logistics to ensure that such initiatives are handled properly after they leave the stadium.

“Furthermore, in recognition of the Scotland national team’s ability to set a positive example (particularly when being broadcast to an audience of millions), all players and coaches have been given Chilly Bottles (reusable bottles), with the team using 60 fewer cases of water in November compared to last year.”

In addition to all of this, BT Murrayfield’s award-winning grounds team endeavours to use only organic materials in the care of the pitches, both in terms of feeding programmes and grass removal – composting all grass cuttings, for instance.

Circular Edinburgh is supported by funding from both the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

Circular Edinburgh delivers a programme of knowledge sharing events, workshops and roundtable discussions to promote the ‘Circular Economy’ to local businesses.

For further information please visit or contact Mayan Grace or Aileen Boyle on 0131 221 2999 (option 5) or email


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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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