The 2017 CRNS Conference and Exhibition took place this year in Dunblane within the stunning DoubleTree by Dunblane Hydro. The conference was sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland and the concluding drinks reception by Every Can Counts. This year’s theme was ‘collaboration’, and throughout the day organisational partnerships, hubs and examples of collaborative working were showcased through a mix of keynote speeches and short ‘spotlight on members’ sessions.
Deposit and return also featured during the day as did the Schools Challenge Awards. Two Question and Answer Sessions enabled delegates to put questions to keynote speakers on their speeches and on current topical matters.
The conference commenced with a very positive video keynote address from Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. Ms Cunningham was unable to attend the conference this year, but her address highlighted the “strong progress” that has been made in the repair and reuse sector and indeed by CRNS, since she delivered her official opening speech at last year’s conference. Ms Cunningham commented on the many opportunities now available to repair and reuse enterprises presented via the hubs initiative and the CRNS consortium and, going forward, through the reuse line and deposit and return systems. The Minister’s video keynote address can be viewed here.
This year’s Market Place saw a concentrated mix of exhibitors offering sector specific advice, support, service provision and some stall holders had products to sell. The Market Place certainly had a real ‘buzz’ about it from all the chat and networking that was taking place, and the energy and enthusiasm in the room was almost tangible.
The first keynote speaker of the day was Iain Gulland, CEO, Zero Waste Scotland who spoke about how Scotland has excelled in creating circular communities and advised delegates how the Circular Economy Investment Fund would continue to support collaborative projects.
Thomas Morgenstern, Vice President Governmental Affairs, TOMRA flew over from Germany to deliver a keynote on how deposit and return systems are developing around the world. Thomas highlighted the main reasons why DRSs have (and are being) introduced, whilst providing an example of a very successful DRS which is operating in Lithuania. To enable delegates to see first-hand how a DRS reverse vending machine would operate, Have You Got the Bottle? kindly arranged to have one present within the conference Market Place for demonstration purposes.
Next, CRNS CEO David Wood gave a strategic overview which built on the Cabinet Secretary’s ministerial address and which contained collaborative examples from CRNS and its members. David also took this opportunity to drive home the message that reuse and repair needs to be seen as ‘the norm’ by the general public, and hence we all have a role to play as ambassadors for reuse and repair.
Alison Brown, Consortium Co-ordinator, commenced the next conference session which focused on The CRNS Consortium and its successful first year. The Consortium, borne out of a collaboration between CRNS, Scotland Excel, Local Authorities and CRNS members, has 5 of its 17 CRNS furniture reuse members currently delivering services to 3 local authorities. Alison also provided key statistics from Fife Council and qualitative information from Castle Furniture, one of the consortium members. Debbie Finlayson, General Manager at Furniture Plus, another of the active consortium members, next took to the stage to outline their experience of being involved in the consortium and on delivering on the Scotland Excel contract.
The final keynote of the morning came from David Wood as he inspired delegates with his account of his recent trip to Christchurch, where he attended the Social Enterprise World Forum. David incorporated 2 animations into his presentation and finished by informing delegates that next year’s SEWF would be taking place in Edinburgh!
Click this link to view a short video presentation that was made in New Zealand at the Social Enterprise World Forum event.
After each person had spoken they joined the panel for the Q & A Session.
Throughout the day there were plenty opportunities for networking within The Market Place and this social hub really facilitated engagement, chat and the exchange of contact details between delegates. The 11 different exhibitors were also on hand to chat to people, display their products and advise on their services.
In the afternoon the ‘Spotlight on CRNS Members’ session commenced with Matt Lewis, Projects & Membership Officer, CRNS providing a brief overview of 5 CRNS members, 4 of which are located on Islands, and then 4 other member organisations took to the stage individually to present on their projects and in particular to highlight the collaborative working which their organisations are undertaking. Presentations were given on:
ReStyle Argyll, Reeni Kennedy-Boyle, General Manager, Fyne Futures
Miixer CIC – Adventures in Reuse, Simon Glover, Managing Director, Miixer CIC
Zero Waste Town Vision, Joe Thompson, Project Coordinator, SHRUB
The MARC Model, Willie Dunn, Project Coordinator, Midlothian Advice & Resource Centre (MARC) & Chair, CRNS
After each person had spoken they joined the panel for a Q & A session.
Schools Challenge 2017 – Reuse v Recycle
CRNS launched its third national schools challenge in August, which tasked both primary and secondary schools throughout Scotland with creating and producing a brief commercial explaining the difference between reuse and recycle to the general public. CRNS asked pupils to imagine this commercial was going to be aired during prime time television e.g. during the X-Factor on a Saturday evening, and their aim was to get their message over clearly to viewers so that those watching understood the difference between the two. The 2 winning schools were invited along to conference to accept their prizes and have their commercials played to delegates.
The winning primary school was Applecross Primary School from the Highlands with their fantastic and for want of a better word ‘funny’ commercial, which displayed some great examples of items that can be reused and recycled. Their commercial can be viewed by clicking here.
Castlebay Community School in Barra won the secondary school category with their impressive clip which focused on how waste, particularly plastics, can affect marine life and the ocean. Castlebay provided some alternative uses for plastic bottles and demonstrated how reusing and recycling can make a positive impact on an island, by diverting ‘waste’ from their sea. Their commercial can be viewed by clicking here.
Representatives from both schools, including pupils, enjoyed the fun questions asked of them by conference host Fred MacAulay, before being presented with their award certificates and cheques.
All keynote presentations can be downloaded here (2 speakers did not use a PowerPoint):
Where and How are Deposit Systems Around the World Developing
Thomas Morgenstern, Vice President Governmental Affairs, TOMRA
Collaborating for a Successful Sector
David Wood, CRNS
CRNS Reuse Consortium – A Successful First Year
Alison Brown, Consortium Co-ordinator, CRNS
Scottish Enterprise World Forum – From Christchurch to Edinburgh
David Wood, CRNS
Matt Lewis, Projects & Membership Officer, CRNS
Reeni Kennedy-Boyle, General Manager, Fyne Futures
Miixer CIC – Adventures in Reuse
Simon Glover, Managing Director, Miixer CIC
Zero Waste Town Vision
Joe Thompson, Project Coordinator, SHRUB