Communities across the country are being given the opportunity to showcase the efforts of local residents and businesses to reduce waste, increase recycling and be more resource-efficient.

Funding will be provided for towns that can provide details of innovative approaches they would take to help their communities to achieve ambitious Scottish Government national targets, which include a 70% household recycling rate and a 33% reduction in food waste by 2025.

“This is a really exciting project for Scotland as it looks to increase momentum with innovative new ideas to deliver a zero waste society,” Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland said.

“Ultimately, we are looking for new ideas and approaches on reducing waste and making better use of the things which we no longer need which will help us identify models that could be replicated in communities throughout Scotland.”

Zero Waste Scotland is encouraging applications from predominantly urban areas to follow the two existing Zero Waste Towns in the smaller rural locations of Dunbar and Bute, which are currently implementing a wide range of initiatives to increase recycling in schools and households in addition to supporting businesses to use resources more efficiently.

Applications must be submitted by Monday 3 October, and successful project proposals will be invited to deliver and implement these plans as a Zero Waste Town from April 2017 to March 2020.

Waste not, want not

The initiative reflects a growing desire from the Scottish Government to deliver high waste reduction targets across the country.

Earlier this year, the Government unveiled its first ever circular economy strategy, outlining bold plans to significantly reduce waste in the food and construction sectors and promote recycling and reuse across the country.

Household food waste in Scotland has decreased by an estimated 37,000 tonnes per year – 5.7% overall – since 2009, saving households across the country £92m a year. In comparison, the UK recycling rate of waste from households reached 44.9%in 2014, rising from 40.4% in 2010.

From a business perspective, food waste initiatives have recently been rolled out by supermarkets across the country to ensure that towns can reduce, reuse, recycle and recover anything that is left over. Last year, for example Sainsbury’s announced it was investing £1m in a market town in Derbyshire to trial its own food waste initiatives which could halve the town’s waste.

In related news this week, Scotland’s Environment Agency has warned the country’s industries and farmers that their waste and inefficiency is now the biggest threat to the environment, overtaking pollution.

George Ogleby

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