Key decision makers from Scottish local authorities, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Scottish Executive recently returned from a study tour of waste management facilities in Denmark.
With Denmark and Scotland sharing similar sized populations, the Scottish contingent was interested in learning from its European neighbour, who recycles 65% of its waste, recovers energy from 26% and landfills 9%.
The group was particularly interested in how the Danish recovered energy from waste, and used it to provide electricity and district heating.
SEPA environmental partnership manager Tom Anderson highlighted some of the key differences in the ways Denmark managed its waste: for the past 14 years all new landfill sites have been owned by the Danish municipal authorities, combustible waste has been banned from landfill since 1997, and local authorities had been directing specific waste treatments such as recycling and incineration for nearly 10 years.
Anderson said: “Scottish local authorities are currently looking at the options for the sharing and procurement of strategic waste management facilities. This tour has provided us with a valuable insight into how a country similar in size to Scotland, and who has a long and proven history of successful sustainable waste management practices, uses its residual waste as a resource.”
More information from the trip, including a DVD, will be available via the SEPA website soon.