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Coronavirus grant awarded to aid Scottish waste management firms

Environmental organisation Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Government have allocated more than £820,000 to the resource management industry to help combat challenges arising from Covid-19 restrictions.

The funding will go towards both upgrading infrastructure to improve its environmental performance and putting in measures to prevent the virus spreading between workers.

Forth Resource Management siteAfter the grant was announced in August, 40 businesses, covering 105 sites, were awarded with funds to put towards improving storage bays, welfare and office cabins, traffic management systems and signage, as well as new equipment and machinery.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “The effectiveness of our waste management sector has been vital during the pandemic. This funding has enabled businesses to make changes on-site to keep Scotland’s waste industry running as smoothly and safely as possible.

“The supply of welfare and office cabins will improve operational efficiency by allowing more staff and contractors to observe physical distancing and return to work. This boosts the volume of materials that can be processed.”

James Gray, Project Manager at Forth Resource Management, said: “Forth Resource Management received Zero Waste Scotland grants that enabled us to invest in infrastructural improvements in order for us to manage the significant increase in waste material generated during lockdown. It also allowed us to make the necessary changes to our sites to facilitate physical distancing for the protection of our staff and customers.

“Essentially, without these grants, FRM would not have been able to recycle all of the additional waste material generated and, most likely, this would have ended up in landfill. Going forward, this investment will aid FRM in our commitment to developing innovative circular economy solutions and to overcome the barriers in achieving this.”

In September, Peter James, Partner and Head of Health and Safety at national law firm BLM, warned that the UK Government’s guidance on making workplaces Covid-secure could be expensive and challenging for the waste management sector.

He emphasised the importance of staff safety, especially for waste management teams working within hospitals and care homes who are likely to come into waste that is at a high risk of being Covid-contaminated.

The allocation of the funding is welcomed by the Scottish resource management industry after months of ongoing struggle, with Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRC) around the country being forced to close for several months and its deposit return scheme (DRS) being delayed until July 2022.

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