Inspiration from Circular Communities Scotland

The Circular Communities Scotland (CCS) Annual Conference 2023 was an inspiring and thought-provoking event that showcased the collective efforts and impactful initiatives of Circular Communities in Scotland. With a membership of over 250 dedicated individuals and organisations, CCS demonstrated the power of unity in fostering positive change.

The conference opened with remarks from CEO Michael Cook, who pointed to this years CCS impact report. Keynote speaker, Lorna Slater, Scottish Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy, and Biodiversity eloquently highlighted the importance of values in driving the transition towards a circular economy. We need to get back to valuing what we can make with our hands to tackle over buying. “The fight back against extractive consumerism starts here”.

Slater emphasised how reconnecting with values rooted in resourcefulness, appreciation for quality materials, and a reduction in overconsumption is what underscores the circular economy.

One of the key highlights of the day was the discussion on the Scottish Circular Economy Bill. Slater shed light on the bill’s potential to obtain crucial information about waste generation, leading to public reporting by businesses. This approach aligns with the theme of the day – the importance of values in waste reduction and circular practices.

Dr. Jane Beasley, Head of Business at Zero Waste Scotland, further elaborated on the circular economy roadmap, outlining seven change packages and Zero Waste Scotland’s Knowledge hubs that offer a great resource for any circular economy enthusiast.

Laura Young, known as Less Waste Laura, brought attention to a pressing issue by advocating for a ban on disposable vapes. Her campaign, supported by the consultation “Creating a smoke-free generation and tackling youth vaping,” underscored the importance of addressing environmental concerns related to disposable vaping products.

Ceris Turner Bailes from Waste Aid provided valuable insights into promoting locally-appropriate waste management practices. Her emphasis on whole-system approaches, skills transfer programs, and exchanges showcased the importance of inclusive and evidence-based initiatives in waste management.

The Highland Community Waste Partnership shared successful examples of partnership working and collective action. Initiatives such as carpooling, conscious consumption campaigns, community asset banks, and sharing tool kits demonstrated the practical application of circular principles at the community level.

The collaborative efforts of these changemakers, coupled with the insightful discussions and presentations, undoubtedly provide valuable learnings for organisations like us here at Northern Ireland Resources Network NIRN. We draw great inspiration from these circular communities and look forward to continuing to support and advocate for a sustainable and circular future here at home.

Many thanks to CCS for your continued support.