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Council could save up to £3M annually via Zero Waste Circular Economy Strategy

15 December 2017

Elected Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council have adopted a final strategy document, authored by environmental consultancy Eunomia Research & Consulting, on how best to embrace the principles of a Zero Waste Circular Economy.

The principles of the strategy aim to keep resources and products in use for as long as possible, extracting maximum value before recovering and regenerating them at the end of their life cycle.

Council, in partnership with Zero Waste North West, commissioned Eunomia to undertake the feasibility study to develop a strategy for the area.

Eunomia’s report found that if recommended changes to the waste management system for households were fully implemented, it would create 50 additional jobs and has the potential to save the Council up to £3M a year, the equivalent of £49 per household.

Broadening the approach to other waste streams would add to these benefits, whilst adopting a Circular Economy approach could further enhance employment in the region.

The report was presented to Members of its Environment and Regeneration Committee on December 6th 2017 and, following their proposal, the document was adopted by Full Council on Thursday December 14th.

Welcoming the news, Head of Environment at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Conor Canning, said the new strategy has the potential to yield significant economic, social and environmental benefits for the Council area. 

“This Strategy sets out the key actions required to move Council towards a Circular Economy Zero Waste district which is a key objective identified in our Strategic Growth Plan,” he explained.  “It points the way towards achieving sustainable waste management practices while also creating economic activity by linking job creation to waste recovery and treatments.

“The report concludes that a Zero Waste Circular Economy is achievable and has the potential to yield significant economic, social and environmental benefits in line with the Council’s community planning thematic pillars.”

Speaking on behalf of Zero Waste North West Judi Logue added: “We couldn’t be more delighted, we formed in 2013 to be a catalyst for Council and the community to explore real and progressive solutions to the ‘waste generation crisis’. 

“All such solutions require a culture shift away from current throwaway attitudes and behaviour.  

“To be effective they require local councils to take the lead through public education, redefining ‘waste’ as a vital resource for a local circular economy, in tandem with phased strategic changes to collection methods and infrastructure. 

“The fact that implementing it will create local jobs while saving the Council millions is compelling. 

“The strategy won cross party support, that puts us ahead of nearly all other council regions within the UK and the island of Ireland, giving us the opportunity to be a region leading the transition. 

“We are excited at the prospect of its implementation and look forward to working with council on same in the coming years.”

Dominic Hogg, Chairman and Founder of Eunomia, the consultancy which carried out the feasibility study, said: “It’s great to see local government working with communities to set out a path towards a prosperous and sustainable future.

“Other Councils should look at how Derry City and Strabane District is embracing the concepts of zero waste and the circular economy - we hope they feel inspired to consider exploring similar principles in their own communities.”

A Zero Waste Circular Economy is identified in Council’s Strategic Growth Plan as one where: “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.”

The Strategy was co-funded by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and Derry City and Strabane District Council.