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Scotland gets to grip with trade waste

Glasgow City Council is changing its procedure for the way businesses put out their trade waste containers on public spaces within the city centre. From 26 June, trade waste bins will be allowed on the streets only at certain times of the day. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to £1,000.

A pilot project will be trialled in eight key city centre locations and extended in the coming months to cover other areas. It means that companies will need to store business waste on their own premises and then put it out for collection during a prearranged time slot.

If a business’s trade waste is found on the street outside the allotted time, enforcement action may be taken under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which could lead to a fine of up to £1,000.

Trade waste bins have become a real headache for councils. They clutter up streets, causing obstructions for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. They also spoil the appearance of our cities, while overflowing bins cause litter and attract vermin. There are simply too many bins on Glasgow’s streets and too many lorries collecting waste, causing traffic congestion at rush hour.

Something needs to be done and I fully support Glasgow council’s new scheme to tackle the problem and hope the pilot project will be a success.

Edinburgh City Council introduced a similar initiative two years ago which has transformed the city’s centre. Overnight the number of bins on Rose Street fell from 600 to 120. The council fined anyone who did not comply, with the result that businesses started using refuse sacks rather than waste bins.

Edinburgh set a precedent when it introduced the system and is now reaping the benefits. Companies manage their waste more responsibly and recycle more. The cleaner, safer streets encourage more visitors to visit the city centre and spend more time there, which means it’s good for business.

Brightwaste was set up earlier this year to offer a new service designed specifically for city centre offices in Glasgow and Edinburgh to provide an effective solution on dealing with trade waste. It provides a waste management service that helps customers segregate waste at source, recycle and reduce the costs of disposal by offering a rubbish sack collection service that picks up directly from their offices at a time that is convenient for them.

It means they do not risk being fined for failing to separate materials for recycling correctly or leaving rubbish bags and bins out on the street outside designated collection windows. And, importantly, a sack collection service rather than a trade waste bin service actually encourages businesses to produce less rubbish and recycle more.

Companies now have a legal duty to present metal, plastic, glass, paper and card separately for collection or face fines from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, ranging from a £300 fixed monetary penalty up to £10,000 for persistent failure to comply with the duty to segregate materials for recycling.

To ensure all recycling bags are kept separate, Brightwaste collect them in a van because, unlike bin lorries, they won’t mix or mash the recycling together. This ensures compliance and high-quality recycling materials, with no contamination. This in turn means improved processing and reduced costs overall.

Roger Green is chief executive of Brightwaste

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