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Big Topics Dominate Scottish Resources Conference 2018

How do we tackle the really big topics? It’s an important pause for reflection for me, ahead do one of the biggest weeks of Zero Waste Scotland’s year at the Scottish Resources Conference 2018  on 3rd and 4th October, which we’re delighted to be delivering once again in partnership with CIWM and SEPA.

Iain Gulland, CEO | 2 Oct 18

The event, at Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre, builds on a strong track record of tackling the topical and testing issues of our time.

We’re privileged once again to have the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, opening the conference with a keynote which takes the key issues for our sector’s policy and industry experts today head-on – a headline-grabbing range of topics which include the omnipresent single-use plastics issue and Scotland’s Deposit Return scheme, which is set to dominate the first day.

Ms Cunningham is set to broach the issue of marine plastics tomorrow and we’re looking forward to potentially some exciting new developments as a result of that.

This year’s conference has attracted a range of first class speakers such as Ape founder Mark Shayler, Ian Schofield from Iceland supermarket, and a range of key contributors from businesses, local authorities, government and social enterprises, among many others.

I’ll be leading a session immediately following the Cabinet Secretary, on plastics and packaging. We’ve talked a lot about the galvanising impact the BBC’s Blue Planet II has had, particularly on people’s understanding of the impact of plastic in the marine environment. This week, another BBC documentary, Drowning in Plastic, demonstrated the appalling effects of too much plastic, from Indonesia (where rivers are essentially being used as landfill) to the Cape Cod fishing industry. The programme concluded that plastics were too cheap, too easy, to use and discard, and that we need innovation to supersede its over-use.

However, arguably, the real big topic, which if we keep it in mind, will help us move away from single-use and overreliance on cheap, non-reusable materials and products, is how we continue to develop a comprehensive and fully-functioning circular economy - an aspiration which, when achieved, will encompass change and creative problem solving, like we are seeing around plastics - but across a broader multitude of materials and systems - from food waste to product and business-model innovations, and even the way we generate our energy.  That’s the real bigger picture we are striving for. 

Away from plastics, we’ll be looking at the bioeconomy, skills, grassroots change, topical recycling and litter issues, construction and the landfill ban.

I hope to see as many of you at the conference as possible, but if you can’t make it, we are live streaming both keynote speakers, from both days of the conference (Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th October) on our Facebook and Youtube channels.

Go to either www.facebook.com/zerowastescotland or


Or follow and join in with all the conference debate on Twitter, via the conference hashtag #SRC2018


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