Students Waste No Time in Fife Council Workshop

13th February 2018

Students from Fife College got the chance to feed into Fife Council’s Waste Strategy and find out more about what Councils are all about thanks to a recent visit to Fife House in Glenrothes.

The visit was organised by John Wincott from the College’s Health, Safety and Sustainability Department to enable the students, who are studying ‘Start Here for Qualifications’ to hear more about the challenges and opportunities faced by Fife Council over the next few years when dealing with both household and commercial waste.

The workshop also involved members of local Community Councils, Elected Members, Fife Council officers, as well as the students from Fife College. Topics such as how to minimise waste, how best to communicate with customers, and what can be done with waste that can’t be recycled were covered in the workshop. Other areas of discussion included the policies and legislation around waste disposal, how to engage with the circular economy, and the opportunities that there are for using waste as a resource.

The workshop lasted for more than two hours with lively debate on a number of areas. At the end of the session the results were collated with each group giving feedback to the Council officers. As a result of this, the officers received a number of ideas that were new to the debate, helping to inform the decision-making process.

Fife College Sustainability Adviser, John Wincott, said: “I attended an earlier consultation with Fife Council and immediately felt that this was an ideal opportunity for our students to be involved in a vital strategic consultation. The Council team were delighted at the chance to involve our students and so we were invited to attend this event. I am certain that the students raised issues that hadn’t been thought of before and brought a different perspective to the discussion. I was really impressed by the passion that the students brought to the debate and the ideas that they put forward.”

Carolyn Bell from Fife Council, who coordinated the workshops, said: “It was really exciting to have students from Fife College here for the consultation. They approached the subject from a range of different perspectives and provided us with valuable opinions, suggestions and insights. This strategy will directly affect these young people over the next 10 years so it was fantastic they could contribute and see how looking after the environment can offer potential for business and creative opportunities. I hope we can involve Fife College in more consultations like this in the future.”

Course Lecturer, Steph Halkerston, commented, “The chance to discuss, debate and decide on recommendations in this environment was a valuable experience for all of the students. The other attendees were all either council officers, Community Councillors or Fife Councillors and so the students were in a very real debating environment which was really exciting for everyone. Of course, the topic of how Fife can manage its waste in future is also something that affects everyone, so it was excellent for the students to see how this type of subject is consulted on by the Council.”

The consultation was organised for Fife Council by the Climate Change and Zero Waste Team of Resource Efficient Solutions to establish the views of the communities in Fife on the best way to tackle the waste challenges as the regulations become more stringent.

Student Vicky Beck, (26), from Glenrothes enjoyed being involved in the visit and workshop and said: “I’m really enjoying this qualification which gives us a chance to explore a wide range of subjects. It was great to find out more about how Councils work and how decisions are made about community issues.”

After the event the students involved were presented with certificates, back in College, to recognise their input into the new waste strategy.

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