Two local municipalities joined forces to establish a Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy for their “city-region” in Northern Ireland. Together, this strategy includes thirty-seven policies with a harmonized outreach campaign.
Zero Waste Europe created an initiative called Zero Waste Cities, which includes cities that have publicly committed to moving towards the path of zero waste through implementation of policies and programs with progress monitored by Zero Waste Europe. With a primary focus in waste policy going above recycling to focus on waste prevention and reuse/repair, Zero Waste Europe offers support and guidance to all local municipalities making a public commitment to move to zero waste.
Showcased in Zero Waste Europe’s 2021 Zero Waste Cities Report, the city-region of Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) implemented a Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy. Council of the city-region plans on monitoring the residual waste produced by households, calculating the kg/per person/per year of recyclable materials that are lost. Legislative and infrastructure changes supported by community education waste reduction policies will be implemented that move the community year on year towards zero waste. Derry/Strabane’s status as a Zero Waste City is independently verified annually by Zero Waste Europe.
Specific commitments include:
- Development and implementation of a behaviour change and education campaign as the foundational component of the Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy, upon which all other actions and elements of the strategy rely. Embedding the campaign into the local school curriculum was part of the plan.
- Involvement of communities in the implementation and dissemination of the Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy through a coordinated programme of continuous engagement.
- Expansion of a local reuse centres.
- Joined the Northern Ireland Resources Network, enabling local councils to share or gain best practice knowledge across Northern Ireland.
- DCSDC became a pilot city for a Zero Waste Cities Certification accreditation process.
For the strategy to build momentum, ongoing outreach and communication is necessary to ensure progress continues towards set targets, and to sustain the momentum for behaviour change. Investment in communication is vital on an ongoing basis. Where data has been analysed for return on communication campaigns, investment returns are good, according to the U.K. Waste Reduction Action Programme, communications campaign investment returns of between £8 and £250 for every £1 invested on outreach campaigns.
The European Union (EU) project on Reducing Plastic Waste in Canada