Scottish firms could ‘save billions’ through waste reduction

Reducing waste could save Scottish businesses up to £2bn a year according to Zero Waste Scotland, who have welcomed new proposals by the Scottish Government to increase trade waste recycling collections.

The proposed Zero Waste Regulations call for paper and card, glass, metals, and plastics to be collected separately from businesses, and outline mandatory food waste collections for those involved in food production, retail or preparation.

Zero Waste Scotland said it could help businesses adapt to the new regulations and claimed businesses that go even further than the minimum requirements will have the most to gain under the new system. It pointed to a recent study that identified £64m could be saved by cutting food waste in the hospitality sector alone.

Zero Waste Scotland director Iain Gulland said: “We are supporting Scottish businesses to reduce waste and save money by ensuring they get the most out from the raw materials, packaging, existing stock, and other resources they buy and use.”

One example of this, he added was an online training course for SMEs on how to embark on a zero waste drive. “We are also working to ensure that businesses get the services they need to comply with the new regulations.

“We are already investing £4m this year to support food waste collections from businesses and will be working to ensure improved trade waste collections are delivered ahead of the regulations coming into force.

One Scottish SME that has already taken steps to reduce its waste is food manufacturer MacSweens of Edinburgh who claims to have diverted 90% of its waste from landfill.

Director James Macsween said: “Our efforts to reduce waste as far as possible and recycle wherever we can is saving our business around £4,000 each year so far. While this might not seem like a lot, it’s still a saving and it shows that embracing environmentally conscientious solutions doesn’t have a negative financial impact.

“We are continuing to look for innovative ways to save money through waste management. We already send excess organic materials to produce energy in anaerobic digestion facilities, and we recover the fat we use to be made into bio-diesel. By separating recyclable waste on-site, we even save money on our waste disposal costs.”

Maxine Perella

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