Projects & organisations helping to move Bristol towards being a zero-waste city
31st May 2016
On Thursday 26 May at the Partnership’s most recent Quarterly Gathering we invited over 100 local organisations and Partnership Members to share their ideas on how we can collectively make Bristol a zero-waste city.
To open proceedings, Jane Stephenson (Business Development Director of Resource Futures & a Director of Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC) set the scene – with updates from Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC and an overview of the work and objectives of the Partnership’s Waste and Resources Action Group to date.
Presentations looked at Bristol City Council’s aims and aspirations to significantly increase household recycling and reuse, reduce food waste and reduce waste sent to landfill, as well as highlighting the role that businesses can play in reducing commercial waste and moving towards circular economy business practices.
Short talks from organisations who are working, volunteering or campaigning in the waste, recycling or reuse field gave an insight into some of the inspirational work that has developed over the last couple of years, and reflected the range of organisations involved in helping to deliver Bristol’s aspirations to become a zero waste city.
Following presentations, 13 workshops led by experts in the field opened up discussions on a range of topics including Food Waste, Residual Treatment, Waste Prevention, Supporting Community Action (read full list here) – inviting attendees to consider:
- What actions are needed to progress towards a ‘zero waste city’
- Who should lead in progressing them
- Who can act as contributors
- What will need further exploration before action can be taken
Discussions encouraged participants to share ideas and meet other organisations working in this area, and the information gathered through the workshops will inform both BGCP’s own strategy and activities as well as informing and extending the Council’s own action planning following the approval of its waste strategy in March 2016.
Read more about the presentations
Alison Comley, Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods at Bristol City Council described how waste reduction is a big responsibility for the Council, but requires city-wide involvement in order to get maximum results. The Council has a Waste & Resource Management Strategy and is exploring what actions are needed to deliver the aspirations, and Alison encouraged attendees to be as creative as they wish in the workshops to help create a solid and deliverable waste action plan .
“We want to empower citizens to tackle waste in their own homes and make sure we give communities the right support to do so.” Alison went on to say that with the right action on reducing waste and litter will no doubt create a healthier and happier city; “if the city’s streets are cleaner, people are more likely to walk and cycle which will improve their overall wellbeing.”
Tracey Morgan, Managing Director of Bristol Waste Company (BWC), provided an overview of this new company running the Council’s waste and recycling collections contract. BWC wants to encourage re-use and recycling at home and strive for cleaner streets. By working with local community groups, BWC is listening to local needs to look at how they can improve the street scene. “We support the Council’s initiative for a zero waste Bristol and believe we have an important role in communicating the urgent need to take more pride in our city by recycling, re-using and keeping our streets tidy.”
Ben Moss, Chair of Bristol Re-use & Founder of Bristol Wood Recycling Project lives and breathes ‘re-use’! Members of Bristol Re-use Network joined together to promote re-use and to work collaboratively to stop materials being thrown away, and find uses for them. In a recent pilot project at Bristol’s Days Road Household Waste and Recycling Centre, members of Bristol Re-Use Network have been meeting members of the public and intervening to pull out anything that is re-usable each and every day. “It’s a collective responsibility. We need to get the public to re-evaluate what they’ve got, what they’re throwing away and before they do, ask themselves ‘is it repairable?’. It’s all about behaviour change. City-wide schemes and repair cafes are doing a great job by making the most of the materials and resources that people already have. We want to see more of these facilities across the city and the country in general.”
An enterprise that brings together businesses and community for the development of a circular economy, SevernNet looks at how resources across the area can be used more efficiently. Kate Royston believes it a cooperative effort between businesses and local communities to take action and tackle waste. “We want to see the SevernNet area develop into an exemplar circular economy as we move towards 2030. We believe this can happen if businesses start to look at their waste a little differently and help each other make the right changes.”
GENeco was formed in 2008 as part of a drive to make Wessex Water more sustainable – and is now an independent subsidiary. In a nutshell, they take food waste (from BCC and BANES), commercial liquid waste and sewage waste from the local area and treat these wastes at their main site in Avonmouth. From this, they produce renewable energy (in the form of gas and electricity); grey water which is used for cooling at a nearby power station; and biofertilisers for agriculture. Their gas to grid plant is one of the ways we are helping Bristol move towards becoming a zero waste city – it takes biogas, produced from the organic portion of the waste, and upgrades it to almost pure methane. GENeco currently produces enough gas to power around 5,500 homes a year (and it can also be used in vehicles such as the Bio-Bus). Charlotte Stamper, Bioresources Business Analyst at GENeco expressed their passion for food and liquid waste treatment and recycling. “We make waste work. We love offering innovative waste solutions, like the recent Bio-Bus. A key focus for us is food waste and composting; our target is to get the public to reduce the amount of food going into black bins from 40% to 10%.”
City to Sea CIC campaigns for stemming the flow of plastic from the city to the sea. Livvy Drake from City to Sea stated the importance of behaviour change to phase out single-use plastics. Their city-wide campaign Refill Bristol promotes drinking water around the city, direct from the tap. It started with clean water fountains and now countless cafes, shops, hotels and businesses are welcoming the public to refill their water bottle for free. Livvy believes creativity is the key to get people engagad; “in the UK there’s around 800 plastic bottles a MINUTE that are ending up in landfill or as litter which eventually makes its way into our waterways and out to sea – we need to get creative to inspire young people to get involved with reducing and re-using.”
The Waste Strategy strategy outlines the Bristol City Council vision and objectives for the city’s future waste and streetscene services. It highlights the European, national and local context for waste services.
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