Carrying on the conversation

Written By Iain Gulland - Director, Zero Waste Scotland  |  31 Oct 14

I’m back behind the desk after the 13th annual Scottish Resources Conference, and I can confidently herald Zero Waste Scotland’s flagship event - delivered in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Wastes Managers (CIWM) – was an incredible success.     

The Conference agenda covered a huge amount of ground, including inspiring keynotes, lively debates, and major announcements.  For those of you who missed it, visit our YouTube Channel to watch video highlights.  

The announcements made – on the establishment of a Scottish Materials Brokerage Service and the creation of a Scottish Institute of Remanufacturing – are clear signals of significant progress being made in Scotland.  Both are important steps in developing the systems and skills Scotland needs to create a circular economy.  But, they are just some of the first steps.  

Over the two days and two evenings in Glasgow, I’ve spoken with many people from many different professional backgrounds.  Excitingly, I’ve been stuck by one commonality amongst them – they all have a genuine passion to see Scotland become a world-class resource economy.

Having worked in the resource management industry for over 20 years now, I can tell you that the involvement of people from a wide variety of sectors is exactly what’s needed. And that’s what was most encouraging about this year’s Conference is that – more than ever before - most of those people were actually in the room with us. And not just listening but participating and debating and perhaps most importantly offering to take action. That’s quite an achievement for an event that began its life as basic ‘waste conference’.   

The only way we can achieve our vision is if it’s also the vision of others – from designers, supply chain managers, and business chief executives; to local authorities, public sector bodies, students, and the general public.   

That’s the only way to ensure that resources will be valued and used to their fullest potential at every stage of life – and then re-used or recirculated for further use elsewhere.

As far as I’m concerned, the right conversations are just beginning – and as our Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead pointed out, we must now continue to discuss the opportunities for a circular economy in Scotland, right across society.  

Over the next six months, the Scottish Government and its partners – with Zero Waste Scotland at the helm – will undertake a major engagement initiative to get people thinking about the opportunities and challenges ahead on this agenda.  

This is exactly the conversation Zero Waste Scotland wants to have with you.  

Just as every industry has its own challenges, so too will they all hold their own opportunities to become more circular.   And who better to identify them than those working in the sectors themselves?

So I ask you:  what opportunities do you think exist within your industry to support more a more circular use of resources? What’s stopping you from taking them forward?  And how can we at Zero Waste Scotland help?

So, in some respects – for now at least, it’s over to you.  


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