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Scotland unveils zero waste plan

The Scottish Government has launched its first ambitious zero waste plan (20 August).

The draft plan  details the steps Scotland needs to take on the journey towards a zero waste society and invites stakeholders to respond to its zero waste plan consultation. It proposes a number of approaches to reduce waste and increase recycling including:

* A 25 per cent cap on municipal waste to energy from waste by 2025. The Scottish Government proposes that this cap should not extend to other forms of treatment infrastructure taking mixed waste such as mechanical biological treatment and anaerobic digestion;
* The possible implementation of further landfill bans on materials including glass, metals, textiles and wood;
* The promotion of re-use and/or repair, of appropriate discarded products or of their components;
* By 2025, Scotland should be landfilling no more than 5 per cent of its municipal waste;
* A suspension of the Landfill Allowance Scheme in principle until May 2011;
* Improvements to recycling facilities in public places and more kerbside recycling;
* Land-use planners must take account of infrastructure required to treat commercial and
industrial waste and construction and demolition;
* The amount of C&I waste sent to landfill must be reduced by 150,000 tonnes a year.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: Scotland must reduce its impact on the local and global environment. Our draft zero waste plan maps out how we can reduce the countrys waste, meet our highly ambitious waste targets and contribute to the work on climate change.
He said that zero waste does not mean that waste disappears but it eliminates the unnecessary use of raw materials, sustainable design, re-using products where possible and preventing waste.

Lochhead added: This is a positive step in tackling Scotlands waste viewing it as a resource rather than a problem. There are major economic benefits, as well as environmental gain, to be had including creating thousands of jobs and new business opportunities.

We all have a part to play in meeting this vision, including the construction industry which contributes around 45 per cent of Scotlands waste. Reducing waste is good for business, as well as for the environment, as it reduces costs. We need to do more to tackle all types of commercial waste.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has also released provisional recycling figures which show that Scotland is producing less waste than previous years and recycling more. In the last year Scotland recycled and composted 34.3 per cent of it municipal waste.

As part of Scotlands zero waste plan, the Scottish Government proposes to improve accurate data being available for all wastes including C&I waste. It proposes that SEPA will obtain this data, looking in particular at total amount produced, total amounts recycled and the composition.

SEPA national waste policy unit manager Kenny Boag said: There are a number of key tasks for SEPA which will help deliver the final plan. These include helping to develop a supportive and proportionate system of waste regulation; working closely with our partners in the waste industry and Government to make further improvements to data on C&I waste and helping to ensure that the planning system works effectively when it deals with waste management.

Environmental organisation WWF director Dr Richard Dixon added: The publication of this draft plan is to be welcomed. We particularly welcome commitments to stabilise household waste arisings by 2010 and the idea to begin reducing household waste annually by one per cent from then on. However, for the plan to achieve its goal of a 'zero waste Scotland' it must include tough targets, especially for business, commercial and industrial sectors.

Responses to the consultation end by 13 November and the final version of the plan will be published in 2010. 


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