The Belgian region of Flanders has been highlighted as an excellent example of how to deal with waste by Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead.
Lochhead visited Belgium this week for the latest Agriculture and Fisheries Council and has visited the city of Ghent to see how Scotland could learn from the Flemish experience.
He said: The Scottish Government wants to see Scotland become a zero waste society but in order to do that, I am keen to ensure that we look closely at how other countries deal with their waste.
The record of Flanders in waste management speaks for itself. They have a recycling rate of 70 per cent, excellent waste prevention plans and a strong network of centres to ensure goods can be reused.
Lochhead planned to visit the Flemish Environment Minister Hilde Crevitis and visit organisations dealing with paper recycling, waste electronic goods and anaerobic digestion.
Flanders has a population of 6 million people similar to that of Scotland. The Scottish Government published an international review of recycling policies last year, including a section on Flanders. It found that the increase in Flanders recycling and composting rates were helped by the following factors:
* Reduction in landfill capacity;
* Growth of the Flemish Green Party;
* Increased public and political awareness of environmental issues and knowledge of waste technologies and options; and
* International legislation
We are looking across Europe and beyond for good examples of preventing waste, increasing recycling and reusing materials as we formulate the review of the National Waste Plan, added Lochhead.