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Case Study: Orkney Zerowaste

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Orkney Zerowaste is a voluntary organisation set up to reduce the amount of rubbish that goes into landfill sites and incinerators. Orkney Zerowaste also aims to provide employment and training, as well as addressing other social and environmental concerns. It also encourages innovation in reusing and recycling waste, and is always looking for new, local solutions for specific local waste problems.

Orkney Zerowaste is a member of Community Resources Network Scotland (CRNS).

Orkney Zerowaste chose to visit Tayside Re-users in Dundee. Orkney Zerowaste is applying for accreditation under the Revolve quality standard for its re-use centre, Steptoze Yard in Stromness, Orkney.  Tayside Re-users undertake similar activities and have already obtained Revolve accreditation. While the visiting party was in the South, they elected to visit Recyke-a-bike in Stirling which specialises in bike refurbishment and reuse, and has also attained Revolve accreditation. They also took the opportunity to visit the Shrub Swap and Reuse Hub in Edinburgh. Shrub aim to create a community of swappers to meet needs sustainably and with as little impact on the planet and the wallet as possible.

Outcomes and benefits

The visits gave an excellent opportunity to look around two Revolve accredited organisations, which gave an insight into how they operate and how Orkney Zerowaste can improve its methods and services. This experience would not have been possible within Orkney.  Visiting these organisations which have already  put the Revolve standard in place has given lots of ideas for improvements, e.g. signage, website, organisation of different areas within the buildings, improving customer satisfaction and visitor experience, even potential contacts for hard-to-recycle items like milk bottle tops. Visiting Recyke-a-Bike also gave an essential insight into how we can improve our bike recycling, increase sales and provide quality volunteering opportunities.

The visit to Shrub in Edinburgh demonstrated how to manage a busy reuse and swap process within limited premises.

Making connections with other organisations with a similar ethos was very worthwhile. Information sharing was beneficial for all parties. The visits gave the opportunity to think about policies and standards, health and safety issues, and marketing. Having the opportunity to travel and see how professionally other organisations work was inspirational and has given plenty of ideas to move Orkney Zero Waste forward.