Zero Waste Edinburgh to tackle Capital’s waste with food sharing hub

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland
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THEY are on a mission to make Edinburgh a zero waste city to cut down on the 82 tonnes of food and materials dumped in landfill each week.

And it seems the movement has struck a chord with the community already.

A launch festival for Zero Waste Edinburgh taking place on Wednesday is already the hottest virtual ticket in town – with all of them snapped up weeks ago.

Among those attending, Steve Burgess – the Green councillor for Southside/Newington, his SNP counterpart Alison Dickie, and Kate Forbes – the MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch who leads the Final Straw campaign advocating the ditching of plastic straws across the country.

They will be joined by Iain Gulland, the chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, David Anderson who serves as Head of European Structural Funds at the Scottish Government and environmental storyteller Mark Borthwick.

And they will gather to hear just how the group – co-ordinated by SHRUB (Swap and Re-Use Hub co-operative) –plans to go about it.

Zero Waste Edinburgh says each week central residents send 82 tonnes of waste to landfill.

Broken down that is 27.1 tonnes of food waste, 7.2 tonnes of paper, 4.6 tonnes of glass, 3.5 tonnes of textiles and footwear, 2.8 tonnes of wood and 2.5 tonnes of plastic.

To get round that, the launch will hear about plans to create a food sharing hub that will instead distribute surplus food to those who need and want it, set up end of term collections to work with resident students in key locations to crack down on fly-tipping, upskill the community with workshops using materials such as textiles, electronics and bicycles, and get more people working as zero waste advocates.

Communications coordinator Rob Simpson added: “The timing of this project couldn’t be better.

“The speed the tickets got snapped up shows just how much determination there is in the community to tackle these issues.

“A Zero Waste Edinburgh really is possible.”

“What’s exciting about the Zero Waste Towns projects is that they’re all different, we get to try some very different

approaches, see what works and hopefully inspire other towns and cities across Scotland to also strive towards zero waste. We’re working closely with our friends at Zero Waste Leith to build a Zero Waste movement across the city.”

The event itself at Assembley Roxy will premiere two new films about the movement, and serve a free buffet – made from rescued food.

Iain Gulland said devolving the message to grass roots level was crucial. He explained: “Engaging communities in Scotland’s transition to a circular economy, where waste is eliminated and we make things last longer, is absolutely

essential.

“Only by engaging individuals at community level can we fully grasp the potential to deliver circular economy solutions in a way that maximises social and local economic benefits. This is vital to achieving inclusive and sustainable growth for the future. Communities are right at the heart of delivering real, lasting behaviour change. With their new Zero Waste Town status these three areas will have new tools with which to build on their zero waste work.”

Among those attending are Gianlorenzo De Santis, from Volunteer Project Guardian for the Food Sharing Hub, only recently arrived from Italy.

He said: “I am fairly new to Edinburgh. Participating in this project is for me a great opportunity to familiarise with the city and engage with its

community while aiming towards the same shared vision zero waste.”

Laurie King, Food Sharing Hub co-ordinator, said: “Edinburgh is well on the way to being one of the UK’s leading cities on tackling food waste issues.

“Its Food Sharing network is

flourishing.”

Project co-ordinator Olivia Nathan added: “This is going to be a festival of waste reduction fun. We’re all very excited by Edinburgh’s enthusiasm for Zero Waste – we have a real opportunity to push for change here”

Eco Heroes

Heriot Watt University for choosing to work with the Scottish Bee Keepers Association after a hive was discovered in a library at their Riccarton campus.

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Staff at the university managed to stop work before any of the bees were harmed.

Eco Zeroes

THE Scottish Government for disappointing environment groups with their Climate Change Plan.

Stop Climate Chaos and Transform Scotland were among the group to say it lacked ambition and did not go far enough on setting targets.

Scottish Renewables also criticised its publication.

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The group takes its name from the Scots-born founder of the modern conservation movement who was from the East Lothian town.

Schoolchildren were among those to take part in activities including litter picking, tours and talks.

Environment minister Lord Lindsay was among those involved, having helped launch it at its inception.

Eco Transport

Maxim Office Park has announced the addition of electric vehicle (EV) charging points at the Park, the first available along the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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Eco Politics

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Convener Graeme Dey said: “No-one can fully anticipate the impact this will have in Scotland.”