VIBES Award: Good Practice


  • Recognised in their marketplace as an environmental leader.
  • Good practical example of Circular Economy in action and support for the Zero Waste Scotland initiative.
  • Well-established internal processes that focus on the recycling and re-use of parts and consumables utilised in their copiers, printers and multifunctional devices (MFDs), maximising their original service life and reducing waste and landfill.
  • Quantified the environmental and economic benefits of their initiative.
  • Resilience during the COVID-19 crisis.
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Capital Document Solutions is Scotland’s leading independent office equipment/document solutions supplier and service provider with an annual turnover of over £22M. The company was founded in 1979 and has offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. They supply corporate, commercial and public sector clients with industry-leading hardware and software brands and print solutions.

Capital has created a dedicated Recycling Centre at their Edinburgh HQ. In January 2019, they promoted one of their experienced engineers to a new position of Recycling Manager, to greatly increase their recycling, re-use and refurbishment capabilities.

They have maintained their business, as well as realised quantifiable environmental and economic benefits, through their refurbishment of copiers, printers and MFDs returned at the end of contracts.   This process maximises the life of these devices in line with the manufacturer’s stated service life.

In 2019, the environmental and economic benefits this initiative achieved were reported as:

  • 660 print devices refurbished and sold as “approved used” - this equated to 35 tonnes in weight;
  • 5331 components reused for original purpose;
  • 1989 toner bottles reused for original purpose;
  • Total Savings of £750k.

From January to August 2020, 145 print devices were refurbished and sold as “approved used”, achieving savings of £288k. This is notable given that from April to June their recycling team was on furlough.

Capital has signed up to the Scottish Government’s Business Pledge and is committed to meeting all elements of it. One element of the Pledge relates to “Community Benefits”. The company has many charities which it supports with direct financial contributions, also giving time to support specific projects or supplying equipment, services and advice for no charge. Examples during the COVID-19 crisis include donating two 3D printers and £1K worth of supplies to Kelvinside Academy to allow them to make face visors for the NHS in support of the PPE shortage; and providing two copiers (valued c.£6K) to the Edinburgh Food Project, which runs food banks.

Given the COVID-19 crisis, many of Capital’s clients are working with reduced budgets and looking for ways to achieve savings. Capital has been working with them to review current contracts and associated costs and has been able to assist with sustainable and cost-effective solutions.

They remained open during lockdown, providing essential support for clients, including NHS 24. They also enhanced their Helpdesk support to clear as many calls as possible remotely. From the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, staff were provided with the necessary tools and digital platform to operate from home. This investment greatly reduced their travel to and from work and between branches, reducing their carbon footprint.