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Q&A with the Zero Waste Town project manager Chris

With the launch of applications for a new Zero Waste Town we decided to sit down and have a chat Chris Morrison who manages the project to find out more about it and the process of applying.

Chris has worked on the Zero Waste Town project since 2014 and has worked with two other towns that have been through this process - Zero Waste Dunbar and Zero Waste Bute. 


Q: What is a Zero Waste Town?

Chris: It’s a joint effort from the residents, businesses and organisations in an area to work together and make real progress towards zero waste at a community level.

The goal is to achieve the ambitious targets that Scotland has, including a 70 percent recycling rate, a reduction of waste by 15 percent and the reduction in food waste by 33 percent by 2025. We also want to see the community to develop a culture of valuing resources.

We want the work of our Zero Waste Towns and what they learn along the way to inspire other communities to take action.


Q: What are we looking for?

Chris: We are looking for organisations that have a vision for what their communities would look like as a Zero Waste Town. I would love to see communities coming forward that have an ambitious view of what can happen in their area and a desire to be able to make a difference at this local level.

Being able to demonstrate that there’s a shared vision and commitment from the people, the businesses, the different community groups and organisations that are based in an area would be great to see.

Any organisation that has previously worked at a community level and been able to create, foster and enable changes to take place on this scale would be valuable experience for those interested in being the next Zero Waste Town.

Q: How does the process work?

We are looking to hear from areas with a population of between 15,000 and 35,000. These communities don’t need to be a distinct and separate town as they could also include areas within a larger, more urban location, for example part of a city. The key thing is that the area has a distinct identity.

There are two stages to the application process to go through. In the first stage, communities should send us an initial project proposal. We are looking for proposals that tell us about the background and experience of the lead organisation, some details about the area itself, and set out of the vision and ambition for what a Zero Waste Town would look like in this area. Applications at stage one will be assessed and those with potential may receive up to £15,000 to produce a detailed feasibility study at stage two.


Q: What have been your highlights so far?

It has been great to see what is possible at a local level. The highlights so far are quite simply the people in these communities taking action to make a difference to where they live, those around them and the wider world beyond as well. We’ve seen schools, businesses, local attractions, community groups and the general public embracing the zero waste ethos in both towns is such a great variety of different ways, which is very inspiring.

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