According to a survey carried out the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) businesses – excluding the construction and demolition sector – produce around nine million tonnes of waste a year.

Construction waste was not included in the survey, but is believed to account for a further seven million tonnes annually.

The information will be used to help plan future strategies aimed at cutting waste north of the border.

Interestingly, once construction was taken out of the equation, commerce was responsible for far more waste (two thirds) than industry (one third).

The wholesale and retail trade produced the most amount of waste, closely followed by the hotel and restaurant sector.

Paper and cardboard was the biggest single waste stream, making up almost one million tonnes of the waste produced by businesses, while over six million tonnes was mixed waste.

Only half of the companies surveyed knew how all of their waste was managed while three quarters of companies stated that they produced waste that could be recycled but was not.

According to SEPA recycling services for businesses are continuing to increase as more facilities become available and the Waste Aware Scotland campaign has produced a business recycling directory providing information on local and national recycling and reuse services from a range of providers.

“The survey will provide valuable information on commercial and industrial wastes to underpin the future development of the National Waste Strategy for Scotland and, in particular, the delivery of the commercial and industrial waste framework which is being developed by SEPA and the Scottish Executive and will be published shortly,” said John Ferguson, a spokesman for SEPA.

“The framework will seek to address current business needs to access more recycling services and identify opportunities for businesses to segregate more of the mixed waste so that it can be dealt with more sustainably.”

Further information on the survey can be found on the SEPA website.

Sam Bond

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