Cobh Zero Waste is currently engaged with the Zero Waste Communities Project. This project will allow us the opportunity to become the first zero waste municipality in Ireland. The Zero Waste Communities project is part of the Zero Waste Cities project run by Zero Waste Europe (https://zerowastecities.eu/). According to Zero Waste Europe, “The Zero Waste Cities approach is a continuous effort to phase out waste – not by burning or landfilling it – but instead by creating and implementing systems that do not generate waste in the first place”.
The Zero Waste Communities Project endeavours to make this a reality, by taking various steps. The first step was to a baseline of waste use and recycling in Cobh through a household survey done earlier this year. There were 130(?) survey responses, which will help establish the baseline. In the survey, questions were asked pertaining to the different waste companies, the types of bins that people have and estimates of residual waste. The survey results will enable us to become a 1st category Zero Waste Municipality later in the year, by defining quantitative targets for waste reduction and implementing local actions. In order to become a best practice municipality (2nd category) we would then have to prove that waste generation was down to no more than 75kg of residual (non-recyclables) waste per person, which could take a number of years.
The approach that we are taking for the Zero Waste Communities Project is citizen centred. There is a strong focus on decreasing waste generation and improving the current recycling systems which are in place. As this is a local level project, input from the community is both necessary and welcome! We are also getting help from VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment), a member based Irish environmental organisation. Through this project, Cobh has a great opportunity to become the first zero waste town in Ireland!