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Scotland’s Isle of Bute sets its sights on “zero waste”


Like Canada, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, Scotland wants to encourage local authorities to adopt a “zero waste” policy. One year after Dunbar became the first town in Scotland to win the “zero waste” label, it is now the Isle of Bute’s turn (pop. 7,200 with an area of 122 km2) to tackle this project.

Credit: Thinkstock – Neil Kendall

Like Dunbar, the Isle of Bute responded to the call for projects in connection with Zero Waste Scotland, an initiative launched by the Scottish government to increase waste recycling by 2025. The Zero Waste Scotland initiative consists of relying on small towns of 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants to create, within a limited territory, new models that meet the principles of the circular economy. The key is to make available to selected towns waste management experts, consulting, two-year support, in addition to the financial support to implement their projects. Accordingly, the Isle of Bute will receive £200,000 (more than €270,000) for the project.

By supporting municipalities, Zero Waste Scotland recognizes the crucial role that they play in rallying people and local businesses, key players in waste reduction. In practical terms, Bute will be rolling out new resources to better collect and recycle its waste. New recycling facilities will be created, for example for WEEE (waste electrical & electronic equipment), to encourage re-use of these materials. Still on a practical note, Bute will be experimenting with new recycling devices in part of the region before making it widespread. Some 500 households will receive recycling kits to increase the household selective sorting rate from 40% to 90%. Another test will be conducted with 50 households to collect their food waste, while a training center will be opened for them to learn how to turn this waste into compost. These are just some of the initiatives intended to be eventually duplicated in other Scottish towns and cities.

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