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  • AntoineR

Can Your City Be Zero Waste? Let's Look at the Example of Dunbar

Vegetables, nuts and cereals in jars and reusable bags

Is it possible for an entire town to embrace zero waste living?

The city of Dunbar in Scotland proves it can be done.

Through their Zero Waste Dunbar initiative, this small coastal community has made huge strides towards reducing waste and building a circular local economy. Their success story demonstrates that with commitment and smart planning, cities everywhere can work towards zero waste goals.

The 2-year Zero Waste Dunbar project engaged residents, schools, businesses, and the government to minimize waste generation, maximize recycling and composting, and reuse resources creatively.

After conducting research and gathering baseline data, Dunbar implemented initiatives like food waste collection, recycling systems and education for schools, and support programs for households and businesses to reduce waste. Here are some of their key achievements:

  • Diverted over 34 tons of waste from landfills

  • Reduced school waste going to landfills by 52%

  • Collected over 12,000 kg of textiles for reuse

  • Developed zero waste lesson plans incorporated into school curriculums

  • Created online resources, swap shops and community events to promote reuse

While Dunbar is not yet fully zero waste, their pilots and systems put the mechanisms in place for long-term change. They brought together stakeholders from across the community and demonstrated that collective local effort can drive progress.

Dunbar's model provides inspiration and practical guidance for cities aiming to curb waste. Their 2-year project shows that small daily changes multiply, especially when all local actors contribute towards a same goal and are eager to make a real impact.

The success of Zero Waste Dunbar shows that reimagining waste as a resource and embracing circular economies is possible, even in existing infrastructure. Where there is community will, solutions emerge. The path to zero waste starts with imagination, collaboration, and determination.

One city's leadership can catalyze transformation far beyond its borders.


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