Scottish rubbish cost tax payers £92m in one year


SCOTTISH superstores have been slammed by campaigners for creating £92m of waste in one year.

It has been revealed that Scottish councils are paying this huge sum in landfill tax which works out at £50 for every council tax payer in the country.

This cost has rocketed by 70% in the past five years despite the fact that more families are recycling than ever before.

Britain must cut the amount of rubbish it sends to the landfill by 35% of the 1995 figure by 2020 or face huge fines.


Waste campaigners claim retailers and food producers are partly responsible for the massive bill and that people who recycle every day are still struggling with the vast amount of unnecessary packaging they take home from shops.

For the first time, the Scottish landfill tax bill has been calculated showing that in 2011/12 councils forked out £92m compared with £54.5m in 2007/08.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP, explains that it is not good enough to leave the problem of excess waste to families and local authorities.

She said: “These landfill tax figures are staggering and highlight the fact that the cost is being shouldered by taxpayers rather than the big businesses creating the problem.”

Ms Johnstone is calling for firms that use too much packaging to be hit by heavy fines.

She said: “We all have a role to play but it’s grossly unfair that the burden is on individuals.

“We should consider giving local authorities and environmental regulators the power to fine the worst offenders.”

Glasgow has run up the biggest bill spending £13.8m, followed by Edinburgh’s £8.3m bill and South Lanarkshire at £3.4m.

Orkney however, has spent just £2,750 while Dundee paid £69,578.

The reason behind Dundee’s spending being so low is because they incinerate most of the city’s non-recyclable waste.

The company behind the burning, which is part-owned by the council, has however run up losses of £50m.

Surveys have revealed that around 5% of the average shopping basket is packaging and UK households throw away 94,000 tons of waste every week- that is the equivalent weight of 235 jumbo jets.

About half of this waste comes from five of the main supermarket chains.

It has also been estimated that 40% of supermarket packaging cannot be recycled.

Town hall chiefs have now put pressure on stores to cut packaging because of the huge mounting costs.

Stephen Hagan, of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities which represents Scotland’s 32 councils, said: “The significant progress made by councils in recent years regarding landfill diversion and recycling demonstrates their ability to address such challenges.

“The greatest challenge now is to prevent waste occurring in the first place and the producers of the over-packaged products have to accept continuing responsibility for them.

“There are existing producer responsibility duties in places but as we move towards a zero waste Scotland they need to be strengthened and extended.”

David Martin, from Scottish Retail Consortium who speak on behalf of supermarkets, said:” Retailers have made excellent progress reducing packaging and are already well on their way to meeting the latest set of Government targets.

“In fact, most major retailers have a target for sending zero waste to landfill by 2015.

“Packaging exists for a purpose- to protect and preserve what’s inside it- and most products are packed in the minimum amount of material to meet these needs.

“Disregard packaging entirely and the result will be more food waste and damaged goods ending up in the bin.

“Other parties also have an important role to play in encouraging environmentally conscious customer behaviour.

“Local authorities need to ensure that they are providing guidance and accessible and effective recycling and re-use facilities.”

Landfill tax was introduced in 1996 to try and help Britain meet an EU recycling directive.

It states that Britain must cut the amount of rubbish it sends to the landfill by 35% of the 1995 figure by 2020 or face huge fines.