Members of Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Environment and Regeneration Committee have agreed to the adoption of a new civic ‘Circular Economy/Zero Waste Strategy’ with the aim of saving millions in waste collection services and hopefully boosting jobs in the long term.
Under the new strategy, which was completed by Eunomia Research and Consulting Ltd. on behalf of DC&SDC and the environmental lobby Zero Waste North West, the council will now try to radically reduce the amount of residual ‘black bin’ waste produced in Derry and Strabane.
Dominic Hogg, of the Bristol-based consultancy, told the committee that by moving onto a ‘Zero Waste’ footing and trying to ensure that where waste is produced in future it can be re-used or recycled, Derry is well-placed to save money and create jobs.
Eunomia believes that by embracing the circular economy, more than 13,000 jobs at various skill levels can be created across the North.
Mr Hogg suggested Derry, as a port city, is well-placed to become a centre for new recycling technologies and infrastructure if it is ambitious.
“Photovoltaic panels and lithium-ion batteries may not be in the waste stream now but that will grow and infrastructure will be needed to deal with that,” said Mr Hogg.
Aside from the exciting prospect of new industries, Mr Hogg said Eunomia’s models also projected the successful adoption of the strategy could save the council £3m per year in waste collection costs.
The strategy states: “DCSDC finds itself under increasing financial pressures, and so reducing waste generation, gaining value from discarded products through preparing them for re-use, and seeking to recycle as much as possible in a cost-effective manner, can contribute to reducing the costs of waste management.
“At the same time, DCSDC has an interest in seeing businesses prosper and generate employment for the community, through both indirect and induced effects.
“Municipalities around the world are already seeing the rewards and demonstrate considerable progress towards the Zero Waste goal, providing sufficient resource is committed to implementation. “
It says Derry can learn from examples set by peers in Europe.
“In Capannori Italy, starting from similar levels of residual waste to Derry and Strabane, a 57 per cent reduction was achieved in just 5 years.
“This, and a growing number of other examples, demonstrate the opportunity for individual municipalities to take action, and set their own Zero Waste aspirations.”