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World Recycling News | Dunbar: Scotland’s First Zero Waste Town

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Dunbar To Pilot ‘Zero Waste Scotland’ Initiative

Zero Waste is a wonderful thing

It goes some way to suggest that everybody is reducing, reusing and recycling to their maximum abilities. It also shows that landfill avoidance and the shunning of incineration are taking place. Upcycling contributions are made, sharing takes place, ideologies changes and people adapt to a more Eco-friendly and pleasing lifestyle.

Situated about 30 miles east of Edinburgh, and 30 miles north of the border, Dunbar is a sleepy coastal town who are waking up to the cries of the environment. Their population of a little over 10,000 are beginning an exciting journey to becoming Zero Waste.
In Dunbar’s words “Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused instead of burying or burning it. A working definition of zero waste implies that all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.”

Dunbar Zero Waste

dunbar zero waste scotland


Source: Zero Waste Scotland

The chosen one…

Dunbar was selected from a short-list of five towns to become the first in Scotland to announce plans to become Zero Waste. The announcement was made by Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Environment minister. In a visit to the town, he said:

“It’s fantastic that Dunbar has set an example and become Scotland’s first ever Zero Waste Town, demonstrating the community’s firm commitment to making real progress in resource management at a local level. This innovative programme will help the town recycle more, send less to landfill and use our precious resources more efficiently. I wish everyone involved in this initiative the best of luck and I hope it will create valuable experiences that other communities around Scotland can benefit from as we strive to make Scotland a zero waste country.”


Who, what and where?

The project will be supported by Sustaining Dumbar, Zero Waste Scotland, East Lothian Council, local businesses, groups and members of the Dunbar community to give this initiative the backing it needs. The scheme has also enlisted the help of Chartered Environmental consultants Dr Crispin W. Hayes, CEnv and former government advisor Philip Immirzi. Both men have vast experience is sustainable startups and structuring high quality business strategies.
Reducing litter will be tackled with ‘on-the-go’ recycling bins, schools will be given new educational programmes to help them understand recycling and local engagement will encourage residents to recycle and show them techniques. A new facility will also be made to make reusing goods easier and more accessible. The methods used will be reviewed, reworked and then applied as Zero Waste Scotland will attempt projects in other towns.

 Zero Waste Future

Iain Gulland, the Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Getting everyone in Scotland’s communities on-board with our vision to eliminate waste, for the benefit of local economies and the environment, is absolutely vital. Scotland has set ambitious targets to achieve a recycling rate of 70 percent and reduce the waste produced by 15 percent by 2025. To achieve this, everyone must play their part.

Gulland continued, adding:

“Working to becoming a Zero Waste Town will be a great way to bring communities together, working towards a shared goal. Hopefully the pilot project in Dunbar will provide great examples of best practice which we can recreate in other towns across Scotland.”


The Benefits to Dunbar becoming Zero Waste

Zero Waste action helps business:
  • Cut costs and improve efficiencies
  • Drive change e.g. through supply chains
  • Meet customer demand for sustainable products and services
Zero Waste action helps the environment:
  • Reducing dependence on landfill
  • Cutting CO2 emissions and dependency on oil
  • Conserving finite natural resources
Zero Waste actions help the economy grow:
  • Creating new jobs in low carbon businesses
  • Developing the resource management sector
  • Supporting the development of strong and resilient communities
Zero Waste actions help schools:
  • Curriculum benefits CfE primary and secondary
  • Save money
  • Stamp out litter
  • Keep the school garden growing
Zero Waste actions help residents

What if you could:

  • Easily compost most of your food waste and create valuable FREE fertiliser for your plants and vegetables?
  • Buy less food and ensure little of it goes to waste, and save money?
  • Make money from old mobiles, gadgets, printer cartridges and electrical equipment rather than discarding them?
  • Simplify your life and get less get less unwanted mail?
  • Share DIY and garden equipment with friends or neighbourhood, instead of buying it for a occasional use?
  • Learn to mend and repair things rather than discard them?
  • Learn the art of upcycling and making new things from old?
  • Shop greener, and buy longer lasting products or that are easily upgraded, re-used or recycled
  • Get less packaging with your shopping and other purchases?
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