A search to find volunteers in the Lothians to help local residents boost recycling rates and reduce the amount of waste produced is now underway, as a new national volunteer network officially begins this week.

Twenty volunteer coordinators have now been appointed by Zero Waste Scotland to work in partnership with local councils and community groups in most regions across the country.

Local volunteers will be asked to help Zero Waste Scotland promote important messages to help the nation achieve its zero waste ambitions, including the following:-

·         Recycling more – Scotland has a long way to go to reach its 70% recycling target by 2025.  The Recycle Now for Scotland campaign aims to help people recycle more things more often.
·         Throwing away less – Scotland produces 19.5 million tonnes of waste a year, enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool every 10 minutes.
·         Stopping the waste of good food – £1 billion of food and drink which could have been consumed is thrown out by Scottish households every year.  The Love Food Hate Waste campaign aims to stop this waste, saving the average household up to £430 annually.
·         Changing attitudes to reuse – only one in five people in Scotland currently donate unwanted items to charities or reuse projects.   Zero Waste Scotland’s national reuse network will aim to make reuse a mainstream option.

Kathleen Vaughn, the Zero Waste Scotland volunteer coordinator for Edinburgh and the Lothians at Changeworks, said:

“Local volunteers are vital to our efforts to help more people learn about the benefits of reducing waste and recycling more.  I am very excited about recruiting and coordinating more enthusiastic volunteers in the Lothians who will encourage people to make simple changes which can help the environment and save them money.

“Every volunteer will receive expert training and everyone has the option to choose a specialist area.  Whether you are interested in helping people combat food waste, start home composting, or learn about recycling, there is real scope in the work we will be doing to help different members of your local community.

“The volunteer group will support and build on the great work already being done by Changeworks.  We will be part of a national network of volunteers, coordinated by Zero Waste Scotland to support local communities to help meet Scotland’s target to recycle 70% of our waste by 2025.

“If you would like to volunteer or to find out more, please get in touch on zerowastevolunteers@changeworks.org.uk or 0131 555 4010.  If you can’t commit to volunteering, hopefully you will see those who do, by attending local events, speaking to community groups, and providing advice and support to householders in the community soon.”

Ylva Haglund, Zero Waste Scotland’s Regional Partnership Manager for the East of Scotland, said:

“Our new volunteer scheme will consolidate previous efforts from our volunteer networks, providing them with local coordinators and training to make an even bigger impact.  They will work locally to support the activities of Zero Waste Scotland and Changeworks.

“With a network of nearly 60 volunteers already we’re off to a fantastic start.  But if we are going to meet our target to set Scotland on track to achieve a 70% recycling rate, with only 5% waste being sent to landfill, by 2025, then we must do even more.”

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