Three Scottish communities are pledging to clean up their areas.
Scotland’s waste-free revolution is driving forward, with Perth, Leith and central Edinburgh pledging to deliver transformative change for residents and workers.
They have been selected as the locations for Scotland’s third Zero Waste Town projects, each receiving a share of nearly £900,000 in funding, which includes support from the European Regional Development Fund, to ‘make things last’ where they are based.
Each has ambitious plans in place to develop zero waste approaches to life and business in their communities, contributing to Scotland’s growing circular economy and generating new jobs locally. These include initiatives to present re-use as a quality, attractive and good value shopping experience for customers, to reduce food waste, and to increase recycling activity and local resource efficiency.
Specific activities include pop-up food sharing shops (the SHRUB Swap and Re-use Hub, central Edinburgh); establishing a Zero Waste Business Charter and working with a local housing association to showcase re-use with a show home property (Changeworks, Leith); and establishing a city-wide re-use network to give retailers and residents better access to quality re-use goods (Zero Waste Perth consortium).
The three new zero waste communities join Dunbar and the Isle of Bute, Scotland’s two established Zero Waste Towns.
They also form part of a growing network of Zero Waste communities throughout Europe and across the world, including towns in Holland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Slovenia and Romania.
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: ‘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.’
The Zero Waste Towns initiative forms part of the Resource Efficiency (H&I and LUPS) operations of the £73million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
John Summers OBE, Chairman, 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 re-use and repair schemes, reduce food waste, encourage more sharing, increase recycling, improve resource efficiency and create economic opportunities though 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, the SHRUB, added: ‘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 re-use and recovery of materials. Through circular economy workshops, a food waste supermarket and an advocate network we hope to build the enthusiasm and capacity that will enable our community to reduce Edinburgh’s waste and prolong the life of materials.’
Teresa Bray, chief executive of Changeworks, concluded: ‘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.
‘We’re building on what’s already happening – adding capacity, resource, support and energy – to ensure Leith leads the way in becoming a new Zero Waste Town. This is a united front by businesses, community groups, schools and residents to improve quality of life and create better places to live and work.’
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, 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% recycled or prepared for re-use 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.’