Scottish waste body tells householders to take responsibility for their rubbish

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is to promote recycling and composting of waste in the Forth Valley, and is ruling out mass incineration. However, the organisation is laying the responsibility on householders to ensure that their waste is disposed of sustainably.

According to the draft Forth Valley Area Waste Plan, launched on 23 July, and devised by the Forth Valley Waste Strategy Area Group comprised of SEPA, local councils and a number of other local organisations, mass burn incineration is to be rejected in favour of a commitment to explore advanced thermal treatment plants to produce energy from waste, such as gasification or pyrolysis, with lower emissions of pollutants such as dioxins. However, the more that householders re-use, recycle and compost their own rubbish, the less of a need there will be for an advanced thermal treatment plant in the Valley.

The draft plan sets out a vision for waste in the region for the next 20 years, setting a number of targets along the way, including 25% recycling and composting of household waste by 2006, and 30% by 2010. The targets are challenging as, in 2000, Scotland as a whole recycled only 5% of household waste, with the majority of being landfilled.

SEPA is calling for comment on the draft plan from local people. “This is a public consultation document and we want and need local people to respond,” said Dave Gorman, SEPA Waste Strategy Co-ordinator. “Our recommendation is recycling and composting for the Forth Valley area – this offers the best combination of cost, employment generation, environmental impact and public acceptability,” he added. “In addition, we want to give much more emphasis to changing attitudes and promoting the message – avoid and reduce waste.”

The proposed waste plan will bring about a huge change in the way that rubbish is collected and dealt with in the area, points out Waste Strategy Co-ordinator for Falkirk Council Graeme Cunningham. “Public support is going to be vital to meeting our recycling targets and I would urge people to get involved in recycling and bring about the major change needed to meet the challenge of the plan,” he said.

“Following public consultation on the plan, Falkirk Council will decide exactly what changes will have to be made to waste collection and disposal services to meet tough recycling targets,” Cunningham added.

East of Scotland Water (ESW), an organisation that was also involved in producing the plan, intends to lead by example. “ESW aims to contribute to the sustainable development of the Forth Valley area by improving its waste management so that any environmental impacts are reduced, resource efficiency is improved and the economic opportunities arising from waste a maximised,” said Fiona Lee, Water Quality and Environment Officer fir ESW.

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