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Scotland passes ambitious waste laws

The Scottish Parliament has passed a raft of waste laws.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations are designed to help move the country’s household and business recycling rate to 70% by 2025.

The ambitious legislation will mean:

  • A ban on municipal biodegradable waste going to landfill from January 2021.
  • A ban on material collected for recycling going to landfill or incineration from January 2014.
  • A requirement to remove key recyclables from residual waste prior to incineration from July 2012.
  • Local authorities and businesses will have to present recyclable material for collection from January 2014.
  • Local authorities and businesses will have to present food waste for collection from most households and businesses. This will be phased in from January 2014.

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said the regulations would bring about a “profound and long-overdue” change in how the nation manages its waste.

He added: “To create a secure resource future we need to develop the infrastructure necessary to reprocess high quality materials in Scotland and reduce our dependence on raw materials from overseas.

“An increase in better recycling will provide the stimulus to drive this required investment and in turn create new employment opportunities and help Scotland become a low carbon economy.”

Zero Waste Scotland will invest £8m this year to help councils and commercial waste management firms implement the changes, including £5m to support the roll-out of new food waste collections.

The body is also supporting collaborative approaches to recycling collections, with pilot projects underway in Bathgate, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Alloa, and Dumfries and Galloway.   

Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “By taking simple steps to reduce waste, Scottish businesses could save an estimated £2bn. Reducing waste in the first place saves on disposal costs and is best for the environment.

“We are here to help businesses to reduce waste and comply with new regulations. We are also supporting councils to roll-out new collection services to householders.”

Resource Association chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “The Scottish Government is taking a progressive approach to managing waste back into effective resource use in a package of measures that send a strong market signal about the direction of travel and the potential in the Scottish green economy for investment in reprocessing and adding value to the Scottish resource stream previously seen as waste.”

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