I think the Zero Waste Movement needs to do a few things
ASAP: (1) we need to present the business case on how "70%
Recovery" can be accomplished in a certain time period (I vote for “70
in 7” as a slogan); (2) we need to have a plan that presents the
long-term goal… I have called it "The Ten-Year Bridge Strategy to a
Zero Waste Community", and it defines a ZW Community as one that is
recovering 90% of the local MSW discards (simplistic I know); and (3) we need
to understand that we’ve won the fight of capturing the public’s
imagination, and now we need to win the fight of convincing Public Works
Directors that this is all actually doable and not pie-in-the-sky.
I’ve highlighted a few of the more interesting quotes ….
urged to define “Zero Waste”
The meaning of ‘Zero Waste' needs to
be clearly communicated to councils, retailers and the public if Scotland's
ambitious waste reduction and recycling targets are to become a reality,
industry experts have warned.
Speaking on Tuesday (October 7) at the CIWM
Scottish Waste & Resources Conference in Glasgow, members of the waste and
recycling industry called for greater clarity from the Scottish Government on
what ‘Zero Waste' meant if they expected it to be executed across
municipal and commercial waste streams.
we don't have a single meaning then how can it be achieved? From a
communications perspective what are we communicating to people?
Dan Cooke, external affairs manager, Viridor Waste Management
The panel of speakers at the plenary
session of the two-day event expressed concern that a lack of consensus on whether the term applied to
waste production, waste disposal or waste going to landfill could prevent the
Scottish Government from obtaining its ambitious 70% recycling rate by 2025.
Ray Georgeson, associate director of social
marketing company Corporate Culture and a founding member of the Waste &
Resource Action Programme (WRAP), who chaired the session, said: "Zero Waste means different
things to different people that much is obvious. For some it is very much a
rallying call to a new society, a changed society, and a new economy. For
others Zero Waste is pie-in-the-sky, it is wholly unobtainable and it's
speakers highlighted the ambitious nature of the Scottish Government's
intention of achieving 70% recycling and just 5% waste to landfill by 2025, and
discussed the reality of meeting them. The overwhelming consensus was one of
approval for the intention behind the policy but a need for further definition on how it could be
Vocal in the need for greater clarity, Dan
Cooke, external affairs manager at Viridor Waste Management, said: "If we
don't have a single meaning then how can it be achieved? From a communications
perspective what are we communicating to people? Raising expectations is a dangerous game to play,
as an aspiration it is fine but it has got to be contextualised and we have to
be aware that we have to be able to walk before we can run."
Also wary of the impact that communicating
a confused message could have for members of the public, Nick Hawthorne of Olus
Environmental Limited - although not part of the Plenary panel - said popular support could wane if an
unachievable goal was put in place by the Scottish Government.
Calling for greater clarification, he said:
"Zero Waste is an
incomplete sentence, do you mean ‘Zero Waste production', ‘Zero
Waste to Landfill' or ‘Zero waste disposal'?"
Other members on the panel accepted the
roll of ‘Zero Waste' as a driver for change in Scottish waste policy but
were keen for more information to be given on what the term meant for issues
such as the retail sector, the use of thermal treatment technology and the
Speaking at the event, Richard Lochhead,
Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, acknowledged that
the ‘Zero Waste' policy was ambitious and dependent on perceptions of
waste in Scotland changing.
He said: "We are not saying that
Scotland should not produce waste, maybe one day perhaps, but waste should be
viewed as a useful material and resource."
Pointing to the fact that over 80% of
Scottish households are now involved in some element of recycling, the minister
claimed that there was no time for complacency if long and short term ambitions
are to be achieved.
Waste & Resources Conference
"In reaching our target of 40% by 2010
we now need to look at hard issues and ensure that there is public information,
education and awareness," he said.
Hard issues, according to Mr Lochhead,
include the provision of food waste collections, and he explained that the
Government is now funding schemes to assess the possibility of offering the
service across the country, which could prove problematic due to the rural and
spare nature of Scotland.
"We don't have a waste problem, we have a resource