But what is “Zero Waste”?

“Zero Waste is the conservation of all resources by means of
responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of products, packaging
and materials without burning, and with no discharges to land, water, or air that
threaten the environment or human health ”

Definition as adopted by the Zero Waste International Alliance

Please bear with us, this page is undergoing some re-construction.

As of 27th February 2023 Zero Waste North West has withdrawn its endorsement of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Zero Waste City-region status. This means that we will no longer be working in partnership with Council as the local affiliate of Zero Waste Europe, the legitimising body.

We have lost confidence that there is any real ambition within Council for DCSDC to become a Zero Waste City.

However, we have not closed the door to the possibility of a real partnership between Council and ourselves opening in the future, to this end we are continuing to work with Councillors from all political parties.

  • What does it mean to be a Zero Waste City-Region?

    Essentially an act of faith has been taken by Derry & Strabane District Council in the calibre of our people. That’s their commitment… To make our city-region a global leader in ending the waste generation crisis that’s choking life on earth!

  • What does it mean for citizens here?

    That a vital conversation has begun in earnest locally. If like us you are concerned about climate change and species extinction, it’s a moment to be truly proud of our council. We certainly are! In the coming weeks and months, we’repreparing more conversations introducing the idea of zero waste and why it’s important. Our council has publicly declared its intention to work towards progressively reducing the waste generated by our city-region. Such a commitment cannot be mandated, it can only emerge first in imagination and faith, and thereafter through discussion and consensus between the council, citizens, and our local business community.

  • What does it mean for our council?

    A quiet revolution has been taking place within council since 2017 when it unanimously adopted the final report of a bespoke Circular Economy, Zero Waste Strategy for the city region. It requires council to lead, in partnership with others, “a culture shift in both attitude and behaviour” that redesigns our relationship with nature and resources, transforming our city-region’s approach to dealing with ‘waste’. Implementing a zero waste strategy has been proven to provide the best option, in terms of social well-being, human health and the protection of our environment. Adopting zero waste strategies has been projected to bring financial savings in the region of £3 million per year, while directly creating an extra 190+ green new jobs! Zero Waste is essentially a comprehensive transition strategy from our current linear economy, where we take-make-waste, towards a circular economy that does not generate any waste by retaining the value of a material to be used again and again.

Targets agreed by Derry & Strabane Council

Council shifts its primary focus above recycling to PREVENTION and REUSE/REPAIRwhile shifting its focus on recycling away from merely specific percentages captured to the QUALITY of the recyclate and thus its value on the commodity market.

The quantitative targets it has committed to are:
  • Recycling 65% of district collected waste by 2035
  • Recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030
  • Reducing district collected landfill waste to 10% by 2030

Additionally, the Council will monitor the residual waste produced by households to examine what is continually not being recycled, calculating the kg/per person/per year of recyclable materials that are lost. Then, via legislative and infrastructure changes supported by community education, it will implement waste reduction policies that move the community year on year towards zero waste…

A Road Map and Progress Reports

Derry/Strabane’s status as a Zero Waste City is independently verified annually by the leading European organisation working on this topic, Zero Waste Europe. As ZWE’s local affiliate, ZWNW will verify the figures submitted together with the council’s plans in response to them, so that citizens can be assured that our city region is on track to meet if not better its targets. These reports will serve as an incentive to spur our council, business and public alike to continually up our ambition and performance.

About Our Role

As both co-promoters of the concept and the verifiers of our city region’s progress, Zero Waste North West will be working closely with the council and a wide range of local stakeholders (business, community and public). Our immediate task is to communicate the significance and opportunities our council’s leadership opens up for the region. To enable us to do that effectively we’ve been upping our game, evidenced in:

The launch of this new website. While all sections are not yet live we envisage this as a one stop shop for the community, business and media sectors to keep abreast of our journey.
An ongoing review and up-cycling of our internal and external communication processes including periodical Bulletins.
A series of artistic and other events (like our pro-mo video below), to underscore the significance of the journey we have begun to every citizen in the region and other stakeholders .


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This is not someone else's world it is our world. We transform it together by being the change we want to see.