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Interview with Reeni from Zero Waste Bute

With the launch of the next round of funding for Zero Waste Towns, we sat down with Reeni from Zero Waste Bute to find out about their experience & what advice they’d give to people applying.

Fyne Futures is a social enterprise based on Isle of Bute, established in 2005 to deliver environmental and employment objectives, as a subsidiary of Fyne Homes Housing Association. The local kerbside recycling service on Bute is provided by Fyne Futures.   They were awarded Zero Waste Town status in February 2015, and began the project in July 2015. 


What are Zero Waste Bute’s ambitions?

Our ambition is that the people on the island view waste as a resource. We really want to become an exemplar, going beyond the national average expectations so we can act as a catalyst for change towards more sustainable ways of living.

We aim to achieve this through a 2 year programme of new waste management infrastructure, awareness raising projects and activities, and a community programme that builds in fun and lots of learning. 


What are your key achievements?

We piloted an extended plastics and textile collection service on top of the current kerbside recycling service we provide, which was so successful it has been rolled out across the Island.

New Life to Old Things was collaboration with Fyne Homes to take 2 empty properties and showcase reuse furniture.  As a result both flats are now rented out and we are looking for opportunities to build on this experience.

Our food waste collection service and in-vessel composting pilot was really successful and we are seeking investment to scale this up for the whole island.

During Pass it on Week 7% of all of the events across Scotland took place on Bute. And we also have 12% of all the restaurants in Scotland using the Good to Go kits based on Bute. 


What is the biggest challenge you have faced?

There has been slow progress around engagement and infrastructure changes, which can be a little frustrating.

We also need capital investment for recycling vehicles and materials recovery plant.


What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying to become a Zero Waste town?

My top four tips for anyone applying are:

  1. Identify actions that are achievable and result in measurable change.
  2. Understand the community benefits that a Zero Waste Town will deliver from a range of perspectives.
  3. Link Zero Waste into what is happening.
  4. Ensure key decision makers and influencers such as local authority, community council, local community groups and businesses are on-board.
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