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Scottish brokerage system operational from 2016

A brokerage system for secondary materials in Scotland will be established next year to go live in 2016, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has told MRW.

David Gee

Such a service was first announced by environment minister Richard Lochhead during the Scottish Resource Conference in October who said it would bring together high quality recycled material from collection systems across Scotland into “reliable supply chains for reprocessors”.

ZWS has been tasked with developing the scheme and programme manager David Gee has told MRW the scheme was expected to go live in 2016 with the first contracts likely to be awarded in late 2015.

The organisation is evaluating a series of options, but the most likely sees businesses bidding for contracts for materials coming from different local authorities, a system that Gee described as an “aggregated procurement process”.

Councils will choose which materials stream they want to sell.

Gee says the system will not be compulsory but he hopes most councils would want to participate as it should help reduce market volatility and risk.

Businesses from the rest of the UK will also be able to join the scheme as procurement rules do not allow to exclude companies on the basis of their location, Gee adds.

The project will be funded by the Scottish Government through ZWS’ existing budget.

Gee said the project was motivated by “circular economy thinking”.

“The more materials can be reprocessed locally in Scotland, the better it is from an environmental and economic point of view,” he said. “[The system] will create and opportunity for the reprocessing industry to develop.”

Angus Macpherson, managing director at t2e, said the system would assist under-resourced local authorities to sell their materials and could improve market transparency.

But he doubted whether it would be effective in boosting the reprocessing industry north of the border.

“There are other aspects that will interfere with it. Reprocessors may still prefer to build larger units near the end users of their materials, such as manufacturers in the rest of the UK, Europe or Asia, rather than next to their suppliers,” he said.

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