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Zero Waste Towns

Zero Waste Scotland supported five Zero Waste Town projects between 2014 and 2020 in Dunbar,Isle of Bute, Perth, Leith and south-central Edinburgh.

Working together with residents, the businesses and organisations that make up these communities a collaborative approach has been taken to move towards zero waste in each location.

Zero Waste Towns are supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

Zero Waste Dunbar

As Scotland’s first Zero Waste Town, the project in Dunbar engaged with schools, helping them to take action to improve their own waste practices. Beyond the schools, a wider community engagement approach with various events to promote Dunbar as being a Zero Waste Town took place.

The key success of the Dunbar project was the establishment of the Zero Waste Reuse Hub. From the humble beginnings of a simple shed on the Dunbar recycling centre, the hub has now been expanded to collections for reuse from all household waste and recycling centres across East Lothian. In addition to the Dunbar store there, is now also a clothing shop in Musselburgh – The Big Pick and a reuse store in Leith – Zero Leith.

This work has demonstrated that these materials are resources that the community wants to access and retain their value. 

Zero Waste Bute

A zero waste island, Bute coordinated a programme of waste prevention initiatives for businesses and the wider community to collaborate on how to take action to reduce waste locally through reuse and repair.

One of the key parts of this project was the expansion of the recycling services provided which included testing different ways to collect recycling from flats in Rothesay.

Zero Waste Leith

With a distinct identity the project in Leith focused on three areas.

  • Creating cleaner greener streets – including the development and delivery of the Flyspotting campaign focusing on prevention of fly-tipping with a homage to Leith’s links to the iconic Trainspotting film;
  • A Reuse and Repair theme which included the provision of weekly repair sessions to provide practical space to make repairs to clothing and furniture. In addition to this, a demonstration of what a home could look like fully furnished with reused and upcycled items was created in the Reuse Showhome in 2018 and 2019.
  • A Learning and Sharing theme which included a Zero Waste Leith Business Charter that was developed for businesses within to pledge their support to take action within their own business practices and to support the development of Zero Waste Leith. With over 120 businesses signed up (as of March 2020) this demonstrates the ongoing willingness to support this initiative.
Zero Waste Edinburgh

The project in Edinburgh created Scotland’s first Food Sharing Hub, a place where the public could access food that would otherwise have been wasted. This built on the previous work undertaken by SHRUB and Edinburgh Food Sharing and was made possible by the input of a number of volunteers. Food was collected from supermarkets, restaurants, and other smaller businesses and then made available for the public to access from the Food Sharing Hub.

In addition to this, a series of workshops were undertaken under the theme of Material Matters which provided the opportunity for learning and sharing skills to reuse and repair clothing and other materials.

With a higher student population in this area, a set of collections were organised to link with the end of the academic year and the associated excess materials that became available as students moved out of accommodation for the summer. Collections were made from private flats.

Zero Waste Perth

The approach in Perth saw a range of events and workshops delivered that provided people with the skills, knowledge and understanding to change their relationship with resources. The activity ranged from how to make household cleaning products to repairing bicycles, basic woodworking or simple sewing to help things last longer.

During the spring and summer of 2019 an empty shop within the St John’s shopping centre was converted into the Zero Waste Walk-In and provided a high street presence to hold workshops and engage with the people of Perth on all things zero waste.

The promotion and partnership within Perth are key characteristics of this project and a legacy in the form of a ‘Zero Waste Space’ has been created in partnership with the Perth Bike Station. This creates a community space that is available for community groups and organisations within Perth to host  workshops or training sessions on ways to reduce waste and make things last for longer.

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