WILL THERE BE ZERO WASTE IN SCOTLAND?
2030 is fast approaching over the horizon and Scotland needs to be ready to meet its recycling targets. Will there be zero waste in Scotland?
In 2010, the Scottish Government published a paper that outlined the various zero waste targets it looked to achieve as part of its Waste Prevention Programme. This was the jump point for the next 15 years, taking Scotland to its intended (and agreed) recycling targets for 2025.
Now, there are a couple of things that are glaringly obvious about this –
1) no one knows about it
2) no one cares about it.
This is the crux of the problem. There is a lot of good intention going on in the background but that is exactly what it is – background. We are all expected to play our part in this but what do we know about it?
Get told there will be a new bin – this one is brown? Told we need to separate glass, card and food?
Scotland’s Recycling Targets
Do we know why, or do we just do it from some vague knowledge that we may have heard something or other on the news, maybe a leaflet campaign, and this is what we had to do now. What if I told you the target for 2025 was “70% recycling and a maximum 5% to landfill for ALL waste in Scotland”.
Do you know what figures we are hitting at the moment? Probably not. I don’t blame you, it is all marketing and the public sector is rubbish* at it.
I’ve still to mention the magical phrase ‘Circular Economy’!
The Scottish Government, and Zero Waste Scotland, need a serious marketing/PR overhaul to get their message knocked into shape and into a more user friendly format. No one wants to hear about carbon metrics. It doesn’t change their day. Not really. Are they important – yes. Are they boring – YES!!
Sweden is on it
We do all have a part to play but Scotland needs to look at Sweden to see an example of a country that treats its citizens like adults and engages with them about the issue. The Swedes are on it with recycling. It’s engrained in their psyche now. Sweden also has the Beteendelabbet, also known as the Behaviour Lab, helping with creative marketing solutions. It needs to be fun to engage. It needs to be memorable.
We (Scotland) are not doing this as we (Scot Gov) are hiding activities from the people. They don’t want the public to know what really happens to their discarded clothing. Are they part of the published figures?
No one wants the public asking questions. Why would they?
Questions require answers. Answers require solutions.
Solutions require timeframes. Timeframes require dates to be met.
The public sector doesn’t do deadlines very well. Deadlines have consequences.
The Scottish Government really doesn’t want to engage with you as that would require opening themselves up to scrutiny, which would quickly show they are missing targets and moving dates. We have already missed the 2020 targets. But it’s OK, there are no consequences.
I spent most of the weekend reading through the Zero Waste Scotland 2010 Waste Report, including the various appendix documents. I have also read through the Carbon Metric information. (Believe it or not, I do actually have a life!) Neither are “reader friendly” but I think that is intended. Bore you quickly, stop you from engaging, stop you from asking awkward questions.
The authors of such documents have an important place in the grand scheme, but not leading it. Leading needs inspiration, not spreadsheets. People do not engage. This is why we are tackling upcycling. It is visual. The problem has a solution the public can see and they can take part. No cost to them, no tax hike, just goodwill.
People will help. They will engage. Just not with spreadsheets and pen pushers.