Volunteers wanted for new scheme to reduce waste in Scottish communities

A new volunteer scheme has been launched across Scotland today (18 July 2011) to provide more local support to help householders boost recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste they produce.

18 Jul 11

Twenty regionally-based volunteer coordinators have been funded by Zero Waste Scotland to lead the search for volunteers across Scotland to provide grassroots support to local and national zero waste initiatives.

Experts at Zero Waste Scotland warn that, despite huge efforts to increase recycling rates across the country, more must be done to tackle the waste of valuable resources.

Key opportunities include:

  • Recycling more – Scotland has a long way to go to reach a target its 70% recycling target by 2025.  The Recycle Now for Scotland campaign aims to help people recycle more things more often. 
  • Throwing away less – Scotland produces 19.5 million tonnes of waste a year, enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool every 10 minutes.
  • Stopping the waste of good food – £1 billion of food and drink which could have been consumed is thrown out by Scottish households every year.  The Love Food Hate Waste campaign aims to stop this waste, saving the average household up to £430 annually.
  • Changing attitudes to reuse – only one in five people in Scotland currently donate unwanted items to charities or reuse projects.   Zero Waste Scotland’s national reuse network will aim to make reuse a mainstream option.

Tim Morton, Zero Waste Scotland’s National Partnerships Manager, who met with volunteers in Fife recently to mark the launch of the programme, said:

“Local volunteers have a vital role to play in our bid to help individuals and communities across Scotland reap the benefits of achieving a zero waste society.  

“Not only does achieving zero waste help the environment, it can also save householders money and helps to build new industries in Scotland where discarded materials can be turned into new, high-value products.

“By asking ourselves ‘What can I do today?’, volunteers can help people in their local community by giving them simple, practical tips to help them reduce waste and recycle more.  From combatting food waste and reducing unwanted mail to promoting home composting and recycling, volunteers can help people to go green and often save money in the process.”

The Zero Waste Volunteer Programme already has over 500 volunteers working with 18 community groups in over 20 local authority areas in Scotland.  Falkland Centre for Stewardship, a local charity, is one of those already signed up to take part. 

Helen Lawrenson, the Centre’s Director, said that she knows that the scheme is a great way for her group to connect with householders all over Fife.

Helen said:

“We are thrilled to be part of the Zero Waste Volunteer Programme. 

“The Fife volunteers are really keen to get out and about and talk to as many people as possible. Our newly recruited volunteer coordinators, Kirsty and Louise, are on hand to provide training, support and advice, and, we are in the process of developing a fantastic new dedicated volunteer base at our offices. 

“We hope that, as more people hear about the new programme, we can attract even more volunteers by following Zero Waste Scotland’s example and asking people to think ‘What can I do today?’

“We are also really excited by the prospect of expanding our ability to provide food waste advice and training. With help from Zero Waste Scotland, we hope to be able to develop our facilities to bring messages about reducing food waste and saving money to a much wider audience.”

To find out more about the work of Zero Waste Scotland or the new Volunteer Programme, visit www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/volunteer.  

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