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Viridor urges Scottish Government to define "zero waste"

The Scottish Government needs to provide clarity over the zero waste term so that it can be clearly communicated to councils in order to meet recycling targets, according to Viridor external affairs manager Dan Cooke.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead outlined the Scottish Governments vision for zero
waste at the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Scottish conference (Oct 7/8).

Although Viridor supports the Scottish Governments recycling ambitions the waste management firm is concerned about mechanisms for delivery relating to zero waste which are currently unclear.

Cooke told MRW: What does it mean? And in what context are we talking about?  We know zero waste is an aspirational target but it is not a simple term and is being wasted as a headline caption with no substance behind it. We are asking for clarity.

Cooke said that the term zero waste was meaningless to businesses, councils and the wider public.

He said: Zero waste is an incomplete sentence. Do you mean zero waste to production, zero waste to landfill or zero waste disposal?

It doesnt actually mean anything and if it is not kept simple people are going to be confused by it. It also takes away from the work the Waste & Resource Action Programme has been doing where they have been trying to keep messages as simple as possible.

With the Scottish National Waste Plan being decided we need clarity and direction and at the moment we are still waiting for it. There is lack of clarity as to the way forward.

At the CIWM conference Lochhead indicated as part of the National Waste Plan that the Scottish Government would be looking at the feasibility of landfill bans on certain waste streams to aid the Governments its zero waste ambitions.

We are going to commission work on whether landfill bans on specific materials or categories could drive change forward the infrastructure required to treat those materials, the lead-in time for any bans, the information which would need to be given to business and the practical enforcement of such bans by the  Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Tesco is to pioneer reverse vending machines in nine of its Scottish stores in a bid to help the Scottish Government create a zero waste society. The machines will provide a reward to users for recycling their bottles and cans and the scheme starts in January.


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