Resource Use

Three Scottish communities to share £900k after gaining Zero Waste Town status

Perth, Leith and central Edinburgh have been selected as the locations for the latest round of Scotland’s Zero Waste Towns project and will share nearly £900,000 of funding to further Zero Waste principles in these areas.

On a visit to the Bike Station in Perth yesterday morning (22 November), Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, MSP Roseanna Cunningham, formally launched the latest round of the Zero Waste Towns project, part of a programme run by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS).

The project lays out ambitious plans to integrate Zero Waste approaches and business into the life of the three communities and aims to promote the wider development of a circular economy in Scotland.

Three Scottish communities to share £900k after gaining Zero Waste Town status
From left to right: Mark Sinclair, Manager at the Bike Station Perth; John Summers OBE; Iain Gulland and Roseanna Cunningham

The three new Zero Waste communities join Dunbar and the Isle of Bute, Scotland’s existing Zero Waste Towns established in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Scotland has led the way in circular economy thinking in the UK, publishing its first Zero Waste Plan in 2010, setting targets of a 70 per cent household waste recycling rate and a 33 per cent reduction in food waste by 2025. The Scottish government went on to release its landmark circular economy strategy - ‘Making Things Last’ - in 2015, with Zero Waste towns forming a not insignificant part of that strategy.

The communities chosen to support the latest Zero Waste projects will now play host to a series of waste-saving initiatives, such as promoting the benefits of reuse as a viable and attractive shopping experience for consumers, reducing food waste, increasing recycling and fostering local resource efficiency.

Aside from the more overarching initiatives detailed above, each Zero Waste Town will run specific activities. Including pop-up food sharing shops SHRUB Swap and Reuse Hub in central Edinburgh, a Zero Waste Business charter, as well as working with a local housing association to demonstrate reuse with a show home property at Changeworks in Leith, and establishing a city-wide reuse network to give retailers and residents better access to quality reuse goods as part of the Zero Waste perth consortium.

Commenting at the launch event in Perth, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “Re-using and recycling more, and making the most of the food we buy and grow, is something we can all do to reduce waste and keep products and materials in high-value use for longer. In Scotland we are working towards ambitious targets on waste, with 70 per cent recycled or prepared for reuse by 2025, and a commitment to reduce food waste by a third by the same year.

“Action from households, communities and businesses is crucial for us to achieve this. That is why I am delighted to announce this funding which will help Scotland’s Zero Waste Towns come up with new and innovative ideas to bring these targets within reach.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, added: “Engaging communities in Scotland’s transition to a circular economy, where waste is eliminated and we make things last longer, is absolutely essential. Only by engaging individuals at community level can we fully grasp the potential to deliver circular economy solutions in a way that maximises social and local economic benefits. This is vital to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth for the future.

“Communities are right at the heart of delivering real, lasting behaviour change. With their new Zero Waste Town status these three areas will have new tools with which to build on their zero waste work – while contributing to coordinated action across the country to drive a more sustainable, circular economy.”

‘Positive changes’ to bring ‘benefits for everyone’

ZWS and the participating communities will be hoping to build on the progress made by Scotland’s existing Zero Waste Towns through the funding they will now receive from the Zero Waste Town Development Fund, part of ZWS’s £73-million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme (RECAP), funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Zero Waste Dunbar is two years into a three-year funded project and has so far delivered a range of local initiatives to increase recycling in schools and households, support for business to become more resource efficient and is currently developing plans for a community reuse shop in the town centre.

Bute, meanwhile, gained Zero Waste Town status in September last year and has been working to increase the amount of materials that householders can recycle, piloting food waste collections, engaging with schools and supporting local businesses with resource efficiency measures.

All Scottish Zero Waste Towns form part of a growing network of Zero Waste communities across Europe and the world, including towns in the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Slovenia and Romania.

Commenting on Perth’s newfound Zero Waste Town status, John Summers OBE, Chairman of Beautiful Perth, said: “Our volunteers have worked hard to make Perth a vibrant place to live, work and visit for more than 20 years. We’re proud of that, and very excited to be leading this new Zero Waste Perth consortium with the Council and EcoTechnic of Perth College UHI.

“We look forward to building partnerships that will encourage reuse and repair schemes, reduce food waste, encourage more sharing, increase recycling, improve resource efficiency and create economic opportunities through developing the circular economy. In doing so, we hope to inspire positive changes in Perth, which will have wide ranging social, economic and environmental benefits for everyone.”

Fergus Whyte, Director at the SHRUB in Edinburgh, said: “We are excited to be launching our Zero Waste Towns project and, with the support of Zero Waste Scotland and our project partners, expanding our current reach further into the Edinburgh community. Working towards a circular economy is an important goal, and the SHRUB community feels privileged to be developing the skills of our local community to encourage the reuse and recovery of materials.”

Teresa Bray, Chief Executive of Changeworks in Leith, added: “We’ve had such a positive response from the community – from businesses, community groups, schools and residents – to our plans for Zero Waste Leith. Leith is very much at their heart. We’re hugely excited to be working with the Leith community to cut litter, fly tipping and food waste and improve recycling, repairing and reusing to get the most out of what we have.

More information about the Zero Waste Towns programme can be found on the Zero Waste Scotland website.

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