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'Scottish Government must take action on quality to reach zero waste'

Reprocessors have warned that “clear signals from Government” on recyclate quality regulation are required to achieve the Government’s zero waste policy aims.

A policy statement launched by the Resource Association (RA) at the Scottish Waste and Resources Conference, warned that commingled collection and poor quality material were costing reprocessors “significant sums” and are a “brake on future investment” in necesry recycling infrastructure.

The RA called for a concerted effort by the whole supply chain to improve communication and management if commingled schemes are to continue in Scotland, and for proper enforcement of Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations, and a mandatory MRF quality standard.

Tough new waste laws were introduced by the Scottish Government in May aimed at moving the country towards zero waste.  The Regulations indicated that separate collections were preferred and commingled was only allowed if it could achieve similar “high quality recycling”.

The RA believes commingled collections have become the “default option rather than the last resort” and this must be tackled head on” by Government to realise its zero waste ambition.

RA chief executive Ray Georgeson said: “The ambitions of the Scottish Government for zero waste and resource efficiency are clear, and the thrust of the new regulations is to be commended. Quality of material feedstock will be a critical success element for Scottish recycling, and recent work commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland on priority resource streams has already indicated potential for 92,000 tonnes of additional annual reprocessing capacity in Scotland delivering economic impacts of at least £23.5m a year in increased turnover.

Georgeson called on industry investors to respond to the challenges laid down by the new Scottish Waste Regulations.

He added: “The impact of global market changes and future EU policy on resource efficiency point us towards maximising the use and value in material resources for good environmental and economic reasons closer to home.”

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