Scottish Parliament passes new waste regulations

(L-R) Denzil Skinner, Chair of Essential Edinburgh; Alistair Morrice from Shanks; Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead; Café Pavilion Barista, Graeme Bellew; and Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, visit a local business in Edinburgh which has signed up to a single waste contract to save money while recycling more

The Scottish Parliament has passed new Waste (Scotland) Regulations that will impact on businesses and householders across the country.

The new rules will require all businesses to separate paper and card, plastic, metal and glass for recycling by January 2014. Businesses that produce more than 50 kilogrammes (kg) of food waste per week will also need to separate this for collection, this will be extended to those that produce over 5kg by 2016. Householders will also see changes, as councils will increase kerbside services to include separate collections for paper and card, plastic, metal, glass and, with the exception of rural areas, food too. 

To support the changes required by the regulations, Zero Waste Scotland will be investing £8 million in councils and commercial waste management firms this year, including £5 million to support the roll-out of new food waste collections and £750,000 to help increase the availability of collection services to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The organisation is also supporting collaborative approaches to recycling collections, to make it easier and cheaper for SMEs to recycle by working together. Pilot projects are underway in Bathgate, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Alloa, and Dumfries and Galloway.   

Zero waste vision

Richard LochheadEnvironment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: “I am delighted that the waste regulations have been approved by the Scottish Parliament as they represent a major step in delivering our vision of a zero waste Scotland. These regulations will bring about a profound and long-overdue change in how we view and manage the waste that we produce.

“Innovative solutions to recycle in cost-effective ways signal a welcome pragmatism from Scottish businesses to meet the requirements of new waste regulations. The Scottish Government, along with Zero Waste Scotland, is providing funding to help businesses find better solutions to managing waste.

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, added: “The Waste (Scotland) Regulations are about unlocking economic opportunity for Scotland. Our waste is a valuable resource we can no longer afford to ignore.  The potential to save money, create jobs, and grow Scotland’s recycling and reprocessing industry is huge. 

“Many businesses are already adopting ‘zero waste’ measures to give them a competitive edge.  By taking simple steps to reduce waste, Scottish businesses could save an estimated £2 billion. Reducing waste in the first place saves on disposal costs and is best for the environment.”

Ambitious and bold

Ray GeorgesonThe Resource Association, the professional advocacy group for the reprocessing and recycling industry, welcomed the development. Chief Executive Ray Georgeson said: “We welcome the ambitious and bold measures on waste and resources from the Scottish Government as set out in the Zero Waste Plan 2010 and taken forward in these regulations. We endorse the zero waste vision for Scotland and note that the reprocessing and recycling industry has a vital part to play in the delivery of this vision, as it chimes very much with our own vision and mission.

“The Scottish Government is taking a progressive approach to managing waste back into effective resource use in a package of measures that send a strong market signal about the direction of travel and the potential in the Scottish green economy for investment in reprocessing and adding value to the Scottish resource stream previously seen as waste.

“Central to the success of this strategy will be the supply of consistently high quality materials from recycling collection schemes of all types, especially as materials are diverted from landfill through bans which will deliver higher volumes of resource for reuse, recycling and reprocessing into quality products. We stand ready to support the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland in the work they will now undertake to ensure that quality standards of material for recycling are delivered in a way that supports the needs of reprocessors in Scotland and across the UK as they seek to produce quality products from quality recycled materials generated from the Scottish resource stream.”