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Scotland publishes first zero waste plan

Scotland’s first zero waste plan was published this week.

The plan sets out key actions, including new targets, to tackle the near 20M.t of waste produced by Scotland every year

It aims to drive change and inspire households, businesses, community groups, local authorities and the wider public sector to change the way they view and deal with waste. It contains a broader approach to tackle all waste, not just waste collected by councils.

The plan proposes a new way of looking at the materials Scotland produces - recognising everything designed, produced and used is a resource which has a value. It will introduce radical new measures, including:

* Landfill bans for specific waste types, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and capturing their value
* Separate collections of specific waste types, including food (to avoid contaminating other materials), to increase reuse and recycling opportunities and contributing to the Scottish Government’s renewable energy targets
* Two new targets that will apply to all waste: 70% target recycled, and maximum 5% sent to landfill, both by 2025
* Restrictions on the input to all energy from waste facilities, in the past only applicable to municipal waste
* Encouraging local authorities and the resource management sector to establish good practice commitments and work together to create consistent waste management services, benefiting businesses and the public

Environment secretary Richard Lochhead was this week joined by community champions, business owners and local authority leaders to demonstrate that the zero waste vision can deliver major benefits to the economy as well as the environment.

Mr Lochhead said: “Scotland is embarking on the zero waste journey to protect our environment and help our economy. We can’t go on as business as usual because we can’t afford to and because resources are finite.

“In recent years, the people of Scotland have made substantial progress in cutting waste but households, businesses and wider society still produces enough waste to fill an Olympic size swimming pool every 10 minutes. 6M.t of the waste we generate ends up in landfill.

“I am proud of the significant progress made in our journey to becoming a zero waste society, but there are still a number of hurdles in our path. This new plan can help us overcome them and re-energise and refocus our efforts.

“We are taking decisive action and setting ambitious targets. This includes a new 70% target for all waste to be recycled by 2025.

“Viewing waste as a resource opens many doors; rather than carelessly discarding materials to landfill, we can create new products and generate renewable energy, heat and fertiliser while creating over 2,000 jobs. The Zero Waste Plan will help deliver progressive landfill bans, with the end goal of no waste with reuse or recycling potential being landfilled by 2020.

“Separating waste at the earliest possible stage will help recover the maximum value from different materials. By separating food waste, we will avoid contaminating other materials and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as generate more renewable energy.”

Other key measures in the plan include:

* Development of a waste prevention programme for all wastes, making prevention and reuse central to actions and policies
* Improved information on different waste sources and types highlighting further economic and environmental opportunities
* Measure the carbon impacts of waste to prioritise the recycling of resources which offer the greatest environmental and climate change outcomes

Readers' comments (1)

  • Luke O'Rafferty

    If you're going to be lazy and just copy and paste articles surely you should at least credit the source?

    You can find the full version of this article at

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