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Scottish become first to specify recycled content in public sector

The Scottish Executive has become the first administration in the UK to specify the amount of recycled content that all public bodies should have when buying paper or in construction projects.

It has said that at least 90% of printing and writing paper should have a recycled content of at least 50% and that construction projects of over £1 million should include at least 10% recycled or reuse material. The targets will apply to the Scottish Executive, Executive Agencies, NDPBs, councils and health boards.

Environment minister Ross Finnie said: These new rules will embed the concept of sustainability into the public sector in Scotland. I am pleased that some councils have already set minimum standards for the goods they buy, but we need to set a benchmark for public bodies to meet.

Finnie added: These targets will not involve a significant change to existing practise, nor should it be more expensive. This is another step towards making Scotland a cleaner, greener place.

The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has welcomed the decision. Chief executive Jennie Price said: Using recycled materials and reclaimed products in the economy makes a very real contribution to tackling climate change.

The Scottish Executive is showing real leadership by encouraging the public sector to start specifying recycled content as early as practicable, and, importantly, to measure progress from the beginning of 2007/8.

Glasgow, Dundee, South Ayrshire and Aberdeen City Council already specify at least 10% recycled content in construction projects.

To help other local authorities to make a similar commitment The Scottish Executive worked closely with WRAP and Remade Scotland to ensure a comprehensive package of support and information was available.

For construction, this guidance includes WRAPs web-based evaluation tool for Recycled Content in Construction Projects (RC Toolkit) and guidance on the procurement of recycled paper is available through its Paper Advocacy Team.

WRAP will be organising three free half-day workshops in Glasgow (12th Dec), Perth (13th Dec) and Edinburgh (14th Dec). For details and to book a place, visit


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