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Waste Regulations laid before Scottish Parliament

23 March 2012

By Will Date

Regulations designed to put the Scottish Government’s ambitious Zero Waste Plan into action have been laid before the Scottish Parliament.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 were laid out before the Scottish Parliament on March 15, MSPs will vote on the proposals around June

The draft Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 include provisions to restrict feedstock to energy-from-waste facilities, introduce requirements for separate collections of materials such as food waste and ban biodegradable municipal waste from landfill – a first for the UK.

The regulations were laid on March 15 and MSPs are expected to vote on and approve them in June 2012. They are largely the same as legislative proposals published in October 2011 (see story). However, they include a few minor changes. For example, proposals to require local authorities to collect textiles have been removed. And, the period over which councils will be required to roll out food waste collections has been extended.

Zero Waste

Proposed Regulations:

• Businesses will be required to separate the key dry recyclables (glass, metal, plastic, paper and card) and food at source
• Ban on non-domestic use of food waste disposal units and food waste digesters which involve “treated food‟ being discharged into the public sewer network
• Businesses producing food to arrange separate collection of food waste by 2013

• Local Authorities will have a duty from the end of 2013 to provide receptacles to householders to enable them to recycle dry recyclables such as glass, metals, plastics, paper and card
• Local authorities to provide households with a receptacle for food waste collection from 2016

• A ban on sending biodegradable municipal wastes to landfill by the end of 2020
• Separately collected waste should be collected to meet quality standards to encourage high quality recycling

• Permits granted after July 2012 authorising incineration of municipal waste will ensure that no waste including non-ferrous metals or hard plastics are incinerated
• All separately collected materials will no longer be able to be sent for incineration from the end of 2013

Scotland is also aiming to reach a 70% recycling rate for all waste by 2025 under its 2010 Zero Waste Plan (see story), and the regulations are intended to drive waste out of landfill and up the hierarchy, while ensuring the quality of outputs is maintained to help achieve that goal.

Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead, said: “When I launched Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan in 2010, I was clear that the key challenge was to shift our view and see today’s waste as tomorrow’s resource; so that Scottish people and businesses can realise the economic and environmental benefits.

“These draft regulations mark an important step in this shift that will help propel Scotland towards being one of the highest performing recycling nations. The regulations also aim to drive forward improvements to the quality of collection services offered to businesses and households, while reducing our dependence on landfill and other forms of waste treatment.”

Food waste

The Regulations will give greater responsibilities to businesses who, from January 2014, will be required to separate dry recyclables including glass, metal, plastic, paper and card, and food waste at source. This is a year earlier than the requirement in England and Wales who will have similar requirements in place by 2015. This will apply to shops, offices, factories, restaurants, schools and hospitals.

Also, companies involved in food production, food retailing or food preparation with a capacity to handle more than 50kg of food per week, will be required to separate food waste for collection by 2014, while smaller businesses will be given until 2016 to comply.

The Regulations also include proposals for a ban on the use of food waste disposal units and food waste digesters which involve treated food non-domestic food waste being discharged into public sewers.

As of 2014, separately collected waste will be banned from landfill, and biodegradable municipal waste will also be banned by the end of 2020.

Local authorities will meanwhile be required by the end of 2013 to provide householders with containers for dry recyclables such as glass, metals, plastics, paper and card. However, in a change from the original consultation proposals it will now be at the discretion of local authorities whether or not to collect textile.


The Scottish government is keen to ensure the Regulations should guarantee that the volume and type of materials sent for disposal by incineration are be greatly reduced. As a result, it is proposing a ban on separately collected material being sent for incineration from the end of 2013. However, if waste is found to be heavily contaminated it will be possible to send this for incineration.

Also, the proposals include a provision that best available techniques are to be used to remove ferrous metals and hard plastics from residual municipal waste prior to incineration, which will apply from the end of 2015.


The government has also indicated it will ban the mixing of separately collected wastes with other waste where such mixing would hinder future recycling and the proposals include amendments to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to provide a clear definition of ‘separate collection’.

In future separately collected material will be defined as: “waste that is presented for collection, and collected in a manner that ensures that dry recyclable waste is kept separate from other waste; waste from one dry waste stream is kept separate from waste in another such stream; and food waste is kept separate from other waste.”

A consultation on the regulations began on Tuesday (March 20), with the government accepting views from stakeholders until April 11.

Related Links

Draft Waste (Scotland) Regulations

Scotland Bill

The laying of the regulations comes after the announcement last week (March 21) that the Scotland Bill is nearing completion. The Bill, which is currently being considered in the House of Commons would give the Scottish government greater powers, including setting levels of landfill tax

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