Reducing Waste in Your Congregation and Community
What's the issue?
In 2020 Scotland recycled 42% of domestic waste, against a target of 60%. A 2015 study by Zero Waste Scotland showed that nearly 60% of the waste in kerbside landfill bins could have been recycled, and the route-map indicates that the 2020 domestic recycling target has been missed.
How can you measure your dry recycling and landfill waste and its carbon emissions?
Separating waste into the recycling and landfill is key to reducing our carbon emissions. We can measure our baseline by counting the number of bags of "recycled dry waste" we are currently filling over the period of a month, and number of bags of "other waste to landfill" we dispose of in a month. The figures can be entered on the same page as the food waste figures on the 360 Carbon website, and this will calculate a figure for emissions. You can select how you have measured the quantity of wastes – by kilogram weight or by the number and size of bags or bins – whatever works better.
How to encourage recycling in your congregations.
For advice on what your local recycling services offer consult the Recycling Sorter on the Zero Waste Scotland website, which links to every local authority in Scotland.
Their Recycling Locator can help find local places to recycle specific items or pass on items you can't recycle from home.
A Facebook group called Clergy Clutter UK allows clergy members to sell, trade, or give away ministry-related items. The Church of Scotland's Exchange and Transfer page also provides an opportunity for congregations and ministers to sell or give away items to those who can use them.
How congregations can encourage less waste in their local communities.
Congregations can play an important part in encouraging their local community to reduce waste. Zero Waste has a page with tips and information for community groups, as well as posters for labelling bins and encouraging others to reuse. Other possibilities for reducing waste within our congregations and communities include:
- "Swishing", an event where people donate good-quality clothes that they no longer use and these are swapped
- Bring-and-take events, similar to traditional jumble sales, or car-boot sales – all ways of passing on goods to new owners, with or without money changing hands
- Repair workshops – for example, clothes repair such as darning or sewing on buttons, facilitated by people with these skills
- Up-cycling – where broken or unwanted items can be improved or repaired to bring them back into use
- For larger items of furniture that are still in good condition, you can check with your local authority about donating it
- Many communities have local Facebook sell/swap pages you can join if you have items you no longer need.