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Orkney Zero Waste is a relatively new organisation, registered as a company limited by guarantee, set up to implement a Zero Waste strategy in Orkney. There is a current membership in Orkney of over 100 individuals, businesses, community groups and schools. The constitutional aim of OZ is “To work towards zero-waste in Orkney by 2025”. (INCREASE II funding £30,000)

Orkney Zero Waste Logo

Firstly, the most important way OZ is working to reduce the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream is through education and promotion of the existing recycling facilities in Orkney. Awareness workshops at schools and talks to community councils, development trusts and businesses have resulted in many schools, businesses and communities becoming ’ZeroWaste’ groups, aiming to eliminate their own waste by 2025. If OZ can promote a 50% increase in recycling - paper, glass and metals, and encourage composting of organics - this alone could reduce the MSW stream in Orkney by 35%!

Orkney ZeroWaste has just launched ’The OZ Collection’, a commercial paper and card recycling collection scheme. ’The OZ Collection’ fills a gap in the current recycling services and facilities available to businesses in Orkney, and is initially being offered to retailers in the main shopping area. If the six-month trial is successful, it is planned to extend the collection to other commercial centres in Orkney, and potentially to collect other recyclables. OZ has gone into partnership with a local business to offer this service. The sub-contractor has a suitable vehicle, and the required ’waste transfer licence’ to up-lift waste materials. The INCREASE funding has covered the cost of ’OZ’ signage on the collection vehicle, together with safety equipment and legal advice for all the required documentation. By sub-contracting out the operation of P&C collection from businesses, OZ was able to start-up the recycling collection with minimum capital outlay and in a relatively short time-scale. The charge rate for this service was calculated to be competitive, with a per annum, tiered charge system based on the frequency of pick-ups. Paying by frequency of pick-up provides an incentive to businesses to compact their paper waste as much as possible to reduce the volume, thus the frequency of collection, and therefore their costs. This also makes the collection operation easier, quicker and more efficient.

In addition to education and promotion, OZ has developed an Electronic Swap System; is undertaking research into commercial wastes; has established a recycling system for farmers black plastic bale wrap; and is actively pursuing their flagship project, the proposed Recycling Village.

As the main project towards ZeroWaste in Orkney, the feasibility of developing the ’eco-village recycling centre’ is being investigated. It is envisaged that the recycling eco-village will house a co-operative of individuals, community groups and organisations, undertaking a range of symbiotic recycling activities. These include:

Garden shop - for composting and shredding organic/garden waste, producing compost, mulch, wood chips, together with creating worm farms, garden furniture, pots and planters from salvage and reclaimed materials

Refurbishment of furniture - for resale and/or donation. The current ‘Furniture Project’, already operating a collection and distribution of furniture in Orkney, will use this workshop to further develop their operation to include mending and renovation of old furniture

A building shop - for architectural salvage, doors, windows, grates, architrave, wrought iron, timber etc. This could also extend to a yard for crushed glass and building/demolition rubble to be used as aggregate, off-cut timber, plywood and plasterboard

An electrical shop – refurbishing and/or dismantling TVs, stereos, radios, DVDs, toasters, microwaves, kettles, fridges, washing machines, cookers, computers, printers, scanners etc again for resale, or donation

Display centre with shop and café – selling products from all the above recycling operations, salvaged nick-nacks, crafts and art work (especially those using recycled and/or natural/organic materials) and providing snacks and meals using local farming/fishing/cottage industry fresh products. The centre will demonstrate the use of recycled goods in the café furniture and décor, and house a display of the sustainable technologies used at the village.

Orkney Recycling Village

It is proposed that, once operational, the eco-village recycling centre will be a self-sufficient, self-sustaining, non-profit making enterprise, provide training, work experience and employment opportunities for young people, the disabled, people with learning difficulties and the long-term unemployed in Orkney. It aims to be a centre of excellence and a demonstration of sustainable living.

Mull & Iona Environmentally Sensitive Solutions (MESS) is a community recycling project which is operated by the Mull and Iona Community Trust. The project initially started in early 2003 and piloted collections from four recycling sites on the islands located off the west coast. This has now been extended to nine sites around Mull and Iona. There are also two charity shops that are run by MESS, aptly named Island Castaways. Last year, the project diverted 35 tonnes from landfill, waste generated from a population of under 3,000. (INCREASE II funding £68,665).

The project received INCREASE funding to introduce collections of cans and plastic bottles from local businesses, to produce bio-diesel from used cooking oil and to create an online trading presence for higher value items that are received through donations to Island Castaways.

The project currently provides a recycling collection service to 19 businesses and organisations. So far, the project has diverted a tonne of commercial waste that would otherwise have been landfilled. Mairi MacKinnon, MESS Development Manager said, ’This is an area we are keen to develop further as SME’s become more aware of what they can actively do to reduce their waste and how to improve their green credentials, and now that we are producing bio-diesel to run our van, it truly is a green collection service.’

Auctions of higher value items though E-bay has resulted in sales of over 50 items since the first listing in February 2007. The range of items listed has varied considerably from handbags, a hand made tweed suit, retro fruit shaped plates and even an egg topper! Mairi added, ’It has been really valuable to see the types of things that people are interested in buying and to gauge the types of items that people will bid on, and buy. This is certainly something we will carry on with as it has helped to raise the profile of what we are doing and what is possible in a remote rural location.’

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