Food businesses in Scottish towns which generate more than 5kg of food waste per week are now required by law to have it collected separately for recycling.
Changes to the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 came into force on 1 January, replacing a previous requirement with the weekly limit set at 50kg of food waste.
Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I want businesses, as well as the general public, to see food waste as a resource which can bring economic benefit to communities, as well as reducing our environmental impact.
“These regulations mean that more food waste is now being recycled, via processes such as anaerobic digestion, and less is going to landfill where it can emit harmful greenhouse gases. I recently set out my intention to introduce a food waste reduction target for Scotland, so there is no time like the present to start making changes.”
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Since the regulations were introduced, businesses and the environment have felt the benefits.
“Waste management firms have seen an increase in business from food waste that would otherwise be going to landfill, and fewer climate changing emissions are being generated as a result. Our research also shows that compliance has helped many businesses to reduce their waste costs.
“I would also urge companies to check if their waste contractor has signed up to the voluntary Resource Sector Commitment. By using a contractor which has signed up, businesses can be assured of a high-quality recycling service which also helps them comply with the regulations.”