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Moving the North West towards Zero Waste

Grassroots lobby group, Zero Waste North West, has made a palpable and commendable difference in raising awareness and increasing action towards a circular economy through various zero waste campains in the North West region. The organisation held a conference in 2015 bringing international experts to the City Hotel to highlight zero waste as a key priority for the Derry City and Strabane District Council. The event led to the Council commissioning a feasibility study in 2017 on the adoption of a Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy, conducted by Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd with support from Zero Waste North West.

The feasibility study informed the development of a Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy, which was adopted by Council in December 2017. Whilst it’s too early to speculate on the possible impacts, it does illustrate a strong commitment from the Council to push the district towards a more sustainable trajectory. The benefits of which are not limited to a reduction in landfill waste, but it is hoped the implementation of the strategy will create fifty more jobs and save the Council £3M a year through waste management. The ambitious plan aims to create a regional circular economy through keeping resources and products in use for the greatest amount of time, through the vision that:

“resources are used for as long as possible, have maximum value extracted from them and are recovered and regenerated at the end of their service life to achieve a Zero Waste Circular Economy”

To achieve this the Council will have to facilitate a large cultural and attitude shift from a single use waste culture in tandem with strategic changes in waste collection methods. To do this, the Council will apply to become a Zero Waste Europe Municipality to benefit from the resources and expertise from the Zero Waste Europe movement. With only one Zero Waste Europe Municipality in the UK, Brute in Scotland, and Cashel in Ireland working towards obtaining the status, Derry City and Strabane District Council have the opportunity to lead the way forward for Northern Ireland.

This case study illustrates how through grit, determination and collaboration, Zero Waste North West is helping to influence policy locally and spearheading the shift towards a more circular economy which if it reaches its potential will be a great step forward for sustainability in Northern Ireland, the UK and the Island of Ireland.

For more information on environmental lobby group Zero Waste North West and their other campaigns click here

For the feasibility study and strategy produced by Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd for Derry City and Strabane District Council click here

For more information on Zero Waste Europe click here

For Derry City and Strabane District Council's decision on adopting the strategy click here