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Scotland consults on waste cutting proposals

A raft of proposals to help cut waste by 15% by 2025 have been launched for consultation in Scotland.

The document, Safeguarding Scotland’s Resources – a programme for the efficient use of our materials, focuses on plans to help businesses cut waste, improving product design and packaging.

It also has proposals on changing attitudes and behaviour to cutting waste and as previously reported, introducing a carrier bag levy.

In the consultation document, Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead said he was proposing additional targets for an initial 5% reduction in total waste by 2015, with a longer term aim for a 15% reduction by 2025.

He said: “We will make this happen through a series of actions designed to engage and support both businesses and the public to make it easy to do the right thing.”

The proposals in the consultation document, which are part of Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan, include:

  • Simplifying access to business resource efficiency advice and voluntary agreements with businesses with a focus on waste prevention.
  • Creating a Zero Waste Pledge to recognise a companies’ commitment to cutting waste.
  • Preventing construction waste through Site Waste Management Plans and commitments to lower landfill.
  • Developing data and benchmarking tools to help efficiency.
  • Explore the potential for a voluntary agreement with the waste management industry to help their customers reduce waste and recycle more.
  • Ensuring appropriate further and higher education on sustainable design is available.
  • Amending the Producer Responsibility regulations to enable separate identification of packaging waste arising in Scotland.
  • Increase the supply and demand for quality reusable items through improving collection, promotion and public procurement.
  • A charge for plastic carrier bags.
  • Funding community-led waste prevention through the Climate Challenge Fund.
  • Developing a business case for reusing bulky waste.
  • Rolling out sustainable procurement training and best practice guidance across the public sector.

Lochhead added that using materials more efficiently would make Scotland more resilient to increasing global competition for resources.

“Scottish businesses could save up to £1.4bn per year by using raw materials more efficiently, including cutting waste. The low carbon goods and services sector can grow to more than 10% of the Scottish economy, helping create 60,000 green jobs. Electrical equipment waste in Scotland over the last decade contained around £700m worth of precious metals. Very little of this value is currently recovered here in Scotland,” he added.

● The consultation includes a proposal for a separate producer responsibility for packaging system.

Ministers believe the current UK scheme supports lower recycling rates in Scotland than in England. They want Scottish packaging identified to help ministers adjust the system to increase recycling.

Under the Government proposals:

  • Retailers and importers of packaging to would provide separate figures for the proportion sold in Scotland.
  • Supply chain companies would estimate the proportion sold in Scotland.
  • Reprocessors and exporters issuing Packaging Recovery Notes (PRN) or Packaging Export Recovery Notes (PERN) would have to show the waste was originally collected in Scotland.
  • Waste collections could benefit from higher prices paid by reprocessors and exporters for Scottish recyclate as demand increases for quality material.

The consultation document said the proposals would keep “additional requirements on businesses to a minimum”.

But Phil Conran, from 360 Environmental consultancy, said the proposals would demand “greater data complexity, increased record keeping and additional accreditation” and “inevitably lead to higher costs for businesses based in Scotland”. 

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