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Scottish Resources Awards 2016 : Innovation, Best Practice & Community Action



Scottish Resources Awards 2016 : Innovation, Best Practice & Community Action

Last night saw the end of the Scottish Resources Conference 2016 (6th October) with the Scottish Resources Awards ceremony.

The awards, which recognise best practice throughout the Scottish resource management and recycling industry, took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre following a packed two-day conference programme. Run in partnership by CIWM and Zero Waste Scotland, the conference is Scotland’s biggest and most important event for sustainability, resource and waste management professionals and this year’s themes included the Scottish food waste opportunity, recyclate markets and quality, the latest in behaviour change thinking and the future role of producer responsibility.

Six awards were handed out on the night, including the two peer nominated awards – the FCC Outstanding Contribution Award and the Re-Gen Waste Rising Star of the Year Award, which are decided by a public vote. The winners as follows:


· The Iona Capital Best Food Waste InitiativeFareShare Scotland


A food redistribution charity which in the last two years has, with the support of Scottish Government, redistributed over 1800 tonnes of high quality surplus food to 370 Scottish charities and community groups – equivalent to 4.4 million meals.


· The GJF Fabrications Best Litter Prevention InitiativeLeithers Don’t Litter


Started a year ago by Zsuzsa and Gerry Farrell to raise a groundswell of anti-litter activism, Leiths Don’t Litter now has 1,600 social media followers and has organised two big clean-ups with 110 volunteers collecting 170 bags of rubbish. Further initiatives with local schools have taken another 100 bags of litter off the streets, and their Adopt-a-Street scheme already has 50 pledges.


· Best Health & Safety Initiative in Resource and WasteEast Lothian Council Waste Services


The council has designed its own health and safety training programme, reducing accidents by 66% and improving attendance, which has in turn generated savings on absence costs, damage repair costs, and claims.


· The FCC Environment Outstanding Contribution AwardDr Colin Clark
With over 30 years experience, Colin has made a significant contribution the development of waste and resources policy, thinking and practice, including in his roles as Chair of the Waste Management Officers’ Network and a member of the CIWM Scotland Centre Council. He is also seen as an invaluable source of advice and support by many of his peers and has taken time to inspire the next generation of waste and resource management professionals.


· The Re-Gen Waste Rising Star of the YearRichard Dryburgh

The youngest member of Changeworks Recycling sales team, Richard has been instrumental in rolling out the company’s RE:Action pilot initiative, which offers customers efficiency improvements in waste, water and energy. Described as both a strategic thinker and an advocate for sustainability, Richard is credited with finding smart solutions to zero waste challenges.


· The Zero Waste Scotland Best Circular Economy InitiativeCMS Window Systems


From its inception in 2006, CMS has had a clear strategy that considers environmental, social and economic sustainability in every aspect of its operations. The firm has improved its environmental performance year on year, despite rapid growth and a steep rise in turnover, and now diverts a minimum of 95% of its waste from landfill each year.


The Scottish Resources Conference and the Scottish Resources Awards are a great showcase of how we are already operating in a circular economy.


Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Congratulations to all of the winners, and nominees in this year’s Scottish Resources Awards. It’s inspiring to see how people from different sectors and fields are really embracing the circular economy vision and ensuring Scotland continues as a global leader.

“The Scottish Resources Conference and the Scottish Resources Awards are a great showcase of how we are already operating in a circular economy and we hope it inspires others to bring forward ideas that will transform how we do business in the future.”

Steve Lee, chief executive of CIWM, added:

“If we are going to embed environmental responsibility, resource efficiency and circular economic thinking into our society, these concepts have to mean something to everyone. This year’s award winners show how this can be done, ranging from community action on litter, food redistribution to help the needy, inspiring fellow practitioners, and providing services and products that deliver environmental benefits. On behalf of CIWM, I would like to offer congratulations to the winners.”

Chair of the CIWM Scotland Centre, Charlie Devine, added:

“This event has grown year on year and the move to a bigger international venue in Edinburgh for 2016 will cement its future as a major forum for knowledge and best practice sharing both across the Scottish waste and resources sector and beyond.”



Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees



As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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