Scottish zero waste laws 'billion pound' opportunity
Scottish businesses could save £2bn a year through adopting better waste reduction measures, according to the head of Zero Waste Scotland.
Director Iain Gulland spoke of the economic opportunities greater resource efficiency would present for companies as the Scottish Parliament passed new waste regulations into law last week.
Under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations, all businesses will be required to separate paper and card, plastic, metal and glass for recycling by January 2014. Companies that produce more than 5kg of food waste per week will also need to separate this out for collection.
Councils will also be obliged to extend kerbside services for householders to include separate collections for paper, card, plastic, metal, glass, and food - with the exception of rural areas.
Zero Waste Scotland is encouraging businesses, particularly SMEs, to work together through collaboration to achieve economies of scale by bulking up materials for recycling and recovery.
Pilot projects are already underway in Bathgate, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Alloa, and Dumfries and Galloway. And In Glasgow, the Glasgow Restaurant Association is taking forward plans to bring its 84 members together to recycle food waste at reduced cost.
Meanwhile in Edinburgh, a Business Improvement District (BID) representing 600 levy payers is looking to enter into an agreement with Shanks to let a single contract for waste and recycling services. If successful, this deal could result in 70% cost savings on waste management fees a year for the businesses involved.
Denzil Skinner, who chairs the BID project, said the scheme would also result in carbon and logistical savings.
He said: "We are reducing the number of collection lorries making journeys around the city centre ... we hope to improve the visual amenity of the area by reducing the number of bins and bags on the streets by providing shared bins when some issues with the regulations have been overcome."
To support the changes required by the regulations, Zero Waste Scotland will also be investing £8m in councils and commercial waste management firms this year, including £5m to support the roll-out of new food waste collections and £750,000 to help increase the availability of collection services to SMEs.
Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead welcomed the new laws, saying they would represent a major step in delivering the Government's vision of a zero waste Scotland.
"These regulations will bring about a profound and long-overdue change in how we view and manage the waste that we produce," he said.
"We all need to realise that the price of and demand for raw materials is increasing globally. To create a secure resource future we need to develop the infrastructure necessary to reprocess high quality materials in Scotland and reduce our dependence on raw materials from overseas."