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[GreenYes] we need to support our brothers and sisters in Scotland !!

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 ….



Scottish Government 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.

If 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 unhelpful."


The 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 achieved.

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 community sector.


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.

Related links

·         Scottish 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.



Eric Lombardi

Executive Director

Eco-Cycle Inc

5030 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO. 80301



"We don't have a waste problem, we have a resource opportunity."


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