THEY are predominantly unspoilt but increasingly being blighted by waste washed upon their shores. 

Now, 12 Scottish islands are becoming greener thanks to a pioneering shopping scheme that will dramatically reduce waste from single-use items.

The islands have been awarded more than £250,000 covering 20 local retailers.

Grant funding provided by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund will empower the outlets to take the next steps in the war on waste by offering shoppers more reusable options.

In addition to seeing waste frequently washing up on the shores around them, island communities bear the double burden of dealing with imported single-use items and then having to shipping-off the waste.

The Islands Green Recovery Programme Refill Fund will provide dispensing and other equipment that enables customers to obtain grocery products in reusable containers brought from home.

This includes dispensers for dry goods such as cereals, pulses, grains, herbs, spices, pasta and rice, liquid items such as milk, fruit juices, oils and vinegars, and other products such as laundry detergents, washing up liquids, fabric softeners and liquid soaps.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: “The Islands Green Recovery Programme Refill Fund delivers a series of exciting and innovative projects that will support green recovery and carbon emission reductions. It will increase the resilience of island communities through investment in food sustainability and projects that support and impact upon the green circular economy and related employment.

“All four strands of the overall £2 million Islands Green Recovery Programme will fund projects that help our island communities to thrive, contribute to our work on repopulation and create jobs.

“In line with the commitments set out in the National Islands Plan, projects will also support and enhance health and wellbeing as well as the development of local supply chains.”

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “There has been a lot of interest in the scheme and it is pleasing to see the demand is there for retailers and their customers to make the switch to reusables. Reducing the amount of material we consume is a significant positive for the environment

“If we can demonstrate the success of refill-type shops on the islands, it could lead the way in changing how we shop nationwide.”

The scheme is part of a larger £2million programme designed to inspire locally-led green projects as part of the recovery from Covid-19.

Emma Bee, founder of The Selkie Collective said:“We are very excited to have received funding. It will allow us to widen our existing range of refill options by funding 
dried food dispensers."