Independent research into Scotland’s hospitality businesses has shown that 87% of Scottish commercial kitchens are aware of new regulations on separating waste, but 93% have still not changed their practices.
Under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations all Scottish businesses must ensure the separate collection of specific dry recyclable wastes. This does not include food businesses in rural areas producing less than 50 kg of food waste per week.
The new study from organic waste recovery specialist Olleco found that 34.5% of kitchens had taken some form of action to kick start the necessary changes, yet just 7% had actually achieved the necessary alterations by the 1 January 2014 deadline.
Olleco’s findings back up early audits from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), which found high levels of compliance among Scottish businesses overall, but lower compliance from smaller independent cafes and restaurants.
The industry believes SEPA will be enforcing the new regulations this summer, initially targeting large producers of waste, via trained environmental health inspectors as part of food hygiene inspections, according to Olleco.
Non-compliant businesses could face a penalty of up to £10,000.
Vincent Igoe, head of Olleco Scotland said he was worried by the lack of changes so far.
He added: “Working closely with the sector, we know that Christmas and New Year are extremely busy periods for kitchens. Yet not implementing the necessary changes required to remain compliant now could result in penalties not only from their current dry waste collector, but, potentially fines and criminal charges from SEPA.”
The case for separate food waste collections
Olleco also found that 64% of hospitality businesses did not believe complying with the new regulations would save money.
MRW reported such concerns from the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association Hospitality Conference earlier this year.
However, Vincent Igoe said: “Working with our current clients who have had the new waste practices in place for some time now, we estimate that the average kitchen with a 1,100 litre general waste bin, collected five times a week at a cost of £11.09 a time, are paying £55.45 a week.
“Yet, if they were to segregate their waste e.g. three collections of a mixed recycling bin at £6.25 a lift, two uplifts of a 240 litre food waste bin at £8 a lift, and one uplift of a general waste bin at £11.25 - that kitchen could see them pay out £46 a week on uplifts - saving almost £500 a year.”