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RAGS ceases trading

Recycling Advisory Group Scotland (RAGS) ceased trading on March 31, after it could no longer obtain funding from the Scottish Executive.

The national organisation established in 1993 co-ordinated the promotion of recycling and associated issues in Scotland. Its cross-sector membership included local authorities, community recycling groups, private waste management companies and government agencies.

RAGS chairman Brian Bingham said he was “very disappointed” with the situation. Brought in to help revive and re-launch RAGS about six months ago, he explained how it relied on support from the Scottish Executive, with not enough members to make the charity self-sufficient.

But six months work on a new business plan failed to persuade the Scottish Executive to fund RAGS, deciding instead there were too many similar organisations covering the same work.

Bingham said: “I’m absolutely bewildered at why some of these organisations are getting money and am quite surprised at how much funding is given in the wrong area.

“I knew the team and package we put together was unique, with a board of directors who are very active and covered all materials. All the board have been in the industry their whole lives and had hands on experience whereas I don’t see that anyone in the Scottish Executive has done a day’s work in the industry.”

RAGS board member and ex-chairman Angus Macpherson, involved with RAGS since 1997, said he expected RAGS’ closure to “leave a hole” and felt it still had a “clear strategic role”.

He said: “If you look at a lot of what is going on in Scotland at the moment, such as the Scottish Waste Awareness Group and Community Recycling Network for Scotland, they’ve all spawned from RAGS. So in some ways the children have killed the parents.”

RAGS will soon call an Extraordinary General Meeting and the option is available for another organisation to take on and continue RAGS’ work.

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