RADICAL plans to make Scotland one of the highest performing nations for recycling in Europe have been unveiled by the Scottish Government today.
Food and garden waste will be banned from going to landfill sites for the first time in the UK.
Additionally a ban on material collected for recycling going to landfill or incineration will be put in place and businesses will be required to present recyclable material for collection
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “This is a major step forward in the Scottish Government’s drive towards zero waste. These measures will set Scotland on the path to becoming one of the highest performing recycling nations in Europe, realising the full potential of items we throw away.
“Our ban on municipal biodegradable waste going to landfill by 2020 is the first of its kind in the UK and one of the most ambitious of its kind in Europe, if not the world. It will make a significant contribution to reducing emissions from landfill and contribute to wider efforts to tackle climate change.
“Scotland produces more than 17 million tonnes of waste, with around 100 million pounds worth of untapped resources estimated to lie in household and business waste. These regulations will help stimulate more than 1 billion pounds worth of new investment to process Scotland’s waste into valuable resources, creating new jobs, low carbon economic growth and financial savings.
“We have consulted widely on these regulations, responding carefully to points raised by stakeholders and working with them to reach an amicable compromise. On food waste collections, for example, we are providing more time for small businesses and local authorities to adapt to the new requirements. This will allow local authorities time to develop new services and engage with the public and in the case of small businesses it gives them more time to change how they manage the waste they produce.
“Whilst Government is doing all it can to achieve zero waste, ultimately it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to recognise that everything we throw away is a resource which has a value- a value we should try to preserve, capture and use again wherever possible.
Environment charities welcomed the move.
WWF Scotland’s Head of Policy, Dr Dan Barlow said: “Achieving a low carbon and resource efficient economy requires a step change in our approach to waste, avoiding huge quantities of valuable materials being sent to landfill or incineration and instead focusing on opportunities to reuse and recycle.
“Requirements for source segregation will help Scotland increase recycling rates and maximise the quality and value of the materials collected and we urge householders and businesses to support these efforts.
“An emphasis on ensuring collection and recovery of high quality recyclables provides the best economic and environmental value and the waste industry needs to respond by providing the quality of facilities and services which will deliver this.”