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SEPA finds 74% of businesses compliant with new rules

Around 74% of Scottish businesses are compliant with new regulations requiring the separation of recyclables, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

In January, MRW reported that the earliest audits of Scottish businesses had revealed strong levels of compliance with the new rules, which came into force on 1 January 2014.

A SEPA spokesperson told MRW that the Agency did not expect all businesses to be compliant from 1 January and that initial enforcement would focus on assisting businesses rather than prosecuting them.

SEPA has now released figures from unannounced inspections of 57 premises.

The Agency targeted a cross section of major food producers and large to medium scale businesses in Scotland’s four major cities.

It found that 42, or 74%, of businesses were either fully or broadly compliant with the new requirement.

Some 82% of large food businesses were compliant, it said, while lower levels of compliance were found among smaller, independent restaurants and cafés. SEPA said it will target this sector to help improve their waste segregation.

Under the new rules businesses must ensure the separate collection of specific dry recyclable wastes such as glass, metals, plastics, paper and card, including cardboard.

SEPA will carry out further inspections throughout the year.

Commenting on the inspections, SEPA’s national waste unit manager, Adrian Bond said: “To have compliance ratings of this level so early in the year is extremely encouraging, especially amongst Scotland’s largest waste producers.

“Even though the inspections only sampled a fraction of businesses affected by the regulations, the results are a valuable insight into the levels of investment by the waste industry and overall business compliance, which we expect to be replicated across the country.”    

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012:

  • Businesses to present metal, plastic, glass, paper and card for separate collection from 1 January 2014.
  • Food businesses (except in rural areas) which produce over 50 kg of food waste per week to present that food waste for separate collection from 1 January 2014.
  • Food businesses (except in rural areas) which produce over 5 kg of food waste per week to present that food waste for separate collection from 1 January 2016.
  • Local authorities to provide a minimum recycling service to householders.
  • Waste contractors to provide collection and treatment services which deliver high quality recycling.
  • A ban on any metal, plastic, glass, paper, card and food collected separately for recycling from going to incineration or landfill from 1 January 2014.
  • All new incinerators must ensure that metals and dense plastics have been removed from residual municipal waste prior to incineration.
  • A ban on biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill from 1 January 2021.

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