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Scotland's Waste regulations have changed for all businesses
big & small

What has changed?

Waste (Scotland) Regulations effective from 1 January 2014

  • Key materials need to be separated for recycling

    The Waste (Scotland) Regulations are now in effect.

    This means that if you operate in Scotland, no matter how big or small your organisation, you are required by law to separate your waste for recycling. The regulations came into effect on 1 January 2014, and require that every business recycles key recyclates namely;; plastic, metal, glass, paper and card - or incur financial penalties. Most food businesses (in non-rural areas) working in food retail, food production or preparation, producing over 59kg of food waste per week, will need to separate food waste for collection.

    From 1 January 2016, the food waste volume reduces to 5kg of food waste per week for food businesses. . A ban on the use of macerators to discharge food waste into the public sewer from 1 January 2016 (again in non rural areas).

  • Food waste must be separated by food businesses operating in non-rural areas

    Food waste must be separated by food businesses operating in non-rural areas

    Since 1 January 2016, all food businesses which produce over 5kg of food waste per week must present food waste separately for collection unless excluded by a rural location. A food business is defined as “An undertaking, whether for profit or not, and whether public or private, carrying out any activity related to the processing, distribution, preparation or sale of food”. This excludes businesses which only prepare and sell drinks.

    When a premises is used to consume food brought from elsewhere e.g. an office where staff bring in food for personal consumption, are not regarded as food businesses. However, a staff canteen where food is prepared, sold and consumed is classed as a food business. The following type of organisations are likely to be affected by the Regulations; hotels, restaurants, cafés, shopping centre food courts, canteens, public houses or shops that serve food, supermarkets, schools and colleges with canteens, prisons, nursing homes and hospitals.

    You can use our postcode finder tool to discover if your business operates in a rural or non-rural area.

  • Disposing food waste into public drains or sewers will be illegal

    Where collections are available, it will be illegal to dispose of food waste into a puplic drain or sewer

    From 1 January 2016, any non-rural business or organisation which produces food waste will have a duty to ensure that it is not deposited directly or indirectly into a public drain or sewer.

    Food waste disposers such as macerators cannot be used to discharge food waste to a drain or sewer in a non-rural area where a separate food waste collection service is available.

    Systems which dewater food waste at source and store the solid material for collection and treatment are an acceptable form of management, but only if the loss of solid matter to sewers is minimal. Systems like enzymatic digesters which do not recover any organic waste prior to it going to sewer are banned under the Regulations as the food waste is all going into the sewer.

    There is no legal requirement for macerators to be removed however your businesses may choose to remove macerators to prevent staff using them and avoid the risk of a fine. Businesses are also liable to prosecution under Section 46 of the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 which makes it an offence to discharge any substance into the public sewer likely to obstruct its free flow. Disposing of food waste to the drain could also result in flooding within your (and surrounding) business premises.

    There is evidence to suggest that fat, oils and grease cause the majority of drain blockages and further legislation is underway to deal with this specific problem.

    Our Business Resource Centre provides information on re-use and recycling services in your area. It also provides advice on how best to reduce your business costs through resource efficiency.

What should I do?

You can comply with simple, achievable steps

  • Speak to your waste contractor for advice compliant services

    Speak to your waste collector for advice on the services and how to get best value for money

    Our Business Resource Centre provides information on re-use and recycling services in your area. It also provides advice on how best to reduce your business costs through resource efficiency.

    Businesses are urged to speak to their local authority or waste / recycling contractors to discuss to manage waste collection and recycling. Working with your waste and recycling contractor to reduce waste and cut costs

  • Consider joining forces with other businesses

    Consider joining forces with other businesses to get the best deal for your waste collections

    Co-operating with other businesses to share waste services has several benefits. It can reduce waste management costs and storage space needed for separate bins for recyclables. Careful management is needed to avoid contamination and here needs to be agreement on who is responsible for ensuring that all businesses using the facilities present waste to meet the requirement of the waste management contractor. Appropriate arrangements are required to ensure the secure storage, authorised transfer and further management of the material from shared facilities to comply with Duty of Care responsibilities. These may be developed in a bespoke manner to suit individual circumstances.

    Premises may be serviced by a facilities management company (e.g. if you share a tenanted property with other organisations) in which case the company services the whole property. Arrangements should be regularly reviewed to ensure waste services meet requirements and the business is getting value for money.

  • Get your staff 'Regs Ready'

    Make sure your staff are complying with the Waste Regs

    You can use our FAQs database tool to answer your questions or questions your staff may have.

    Do make use of the flexible poster creator tool and teach your staff how to recycle.

It's better for the economy, the environment and your business

Why should I change?

  • Diverting food waste from landfill reduces emissions and can generate energy

    Diverting food waste from landfill reduces greenhouse gases and could generate enough energy to power Inverness

    Recycling food waste is good, but preventing food waste is even better. Food waste harms the environment – it wastes the energy, fuel and water that went into producing it and produces methane, a damaging greenhouse gas when it is sent to landfill.

    Composting or recovery of biodegradable waste (such as food or garden waste) should help you save money on your waste disposal costs and reduce environmental impact. Composting can be considered as recycling if it meets the standard of a quality protocol (such as PAS 100).

    For food businesses the recipe for success resides in purchasing and production efficiencies that mitigate waste as there is a direct correlation between waste and the bottom-line.

    We know from research and Love Food Hate Waste that at a consumer level food waste costs Scottish families the equivalent of £35 a month. Also two thirds of food waste could have been avoided if it had been in time or cooked the right amount. Also, more food is thrown away from homes than packaging every year. If you want to educate staff about food waste in a way they can related to, that is, how it affects their own pocket, Love Food Hate Waste has developed tested and proven artwork, messaging and templates for use by partners

  • We are paying to throw away valuable resources

    We are spending £95 million throwing away resources valued at well over £97 million

    How to improve recycling rates in your business.

    Recycling is the processing of used and waste materials into new products. Many materials can now be recycled including paper, card, glass, plastics and metal. Recycling is the third most environmentally beneficial option for managing waste materials under the waste hierarchy.

    Composting or recovery of biodegradable waste (such as food or garden waste) should help you save money on your waste disposal costs and reduce environmental impact. Provided that composting meets the standard of a quality protocol (such as PAS 100) it is considered recycling.

    Why you should recycle

    Recycling your organisation's waste will help you reduce the associated costs of waste management and divert waste from landfill. It will also help you comply with legislative requirements, reduce the extraction and use of the Earth's natural resources, save energy and mitigate the effects of climate change.

    How can you recycle more?

    You can apply the waste hierarchy to help you improve the way you manage your organisation's waste materials. You should always do as much as you can to prevent waste from arising in the first place before looking at your options to reuse and then recycle waste. Find out where you are on the waste hierarchy and what improvements you can make by taking the Zero Waste Challenge.

  • To avoid unnecessary costs and potential fines

    Badly sorted waste could be rejected by your collector and result in higher collection costs and, ultimately, a fine

    Co-mingled collections are where some, or all, of the key recyclable materials are collected together in the same container and later sorted at a Materials Recycling Facility ("MRF").

    Collection of co-mingled dry recyclables and subsequent separation is acceptable but only if it results in the same quality and volume of material being recycled as would result from a completely segregated collection Dry recyclables should never be combined with either residual waste or 'wet' waste such as food as this would have a detrimental effect on the outcome for the recyclable materials. . For instance glass and paper should not be co-mingled.

    Working with your waste contractor

    To help you comply with the Regulations, you can expect the following from your contractor:

    • A collection service tailored to meet the needs of your business, with reliable and regular collections.

    • Information on how to use the service effectively (e.g. clean and dry materials) and to avoid contamination by non-target and non-recyclable waste.

    • Clear labelling of collection receptacles to identify what material should be included and what should be excluded.

    • A system of spot-checks to assess collected material for non-target and non- recyclable materials and feedback identified problems with appropriate advice.

    • Collections of recyclable material should be processed to ensure they achieve high quality recycling equivalent to that from separately collected waste.

    • Fixed monetary penalties

      • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency have enforcement measures, which include the potential to issue a £300 fixed monetary penalty, for persistent failure to comply with the duty to segregate material for recycling. Fixed monetary penalties will work alongside existing enforcement actions. If a business fails to comply it risks a fine of up to £10,000.

Your waste contractor can offer advice and you'll find lots more on our website

Who can help?

For more information

call 0808 808 2268, tweet @ResourceScot or chat online

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