Are you prepared for the Waste Scotland Regulation changes from 1st Jan 2016?

24th November 2015

All Scottish organisations should already be separating key recyclates as the Waste (Scotland) Regulations came into effect on 1 January 2014.

Two years from the initial regulations being introduced, two changes take place on 1 January 2016. Organisations should be aware that;

  1. Food businesses producing over 5kg of food waste week will need to present it for recycling.
    1. How much is 5kg of food waste? It is usually equivalent to a 10 litre food caddy or a full carrier bag.
  2. Food waste macerators cannot be used to discharge food waste to a drain or sewer unless the rural exemption applies.

Why recycle as a business or organisation?

  • It’s the law. If you don’t comply, you can be liable for a fine of up to £10,000.
  • From 1 January 2016, you must recycle food waste if your business prepares and / or sells food and produces 5kg or more of food waste (unless excluded by rural locations).
  • Recycling reduces the need for landfill and the mining of raw materials.
  • Recycling helps prevent the production of environmentally damaging gases (such as methane) produced when biodegradable waste is sent to landfill.

All Scottish organisations, regardless of size, should already be separating the following materials for recycling;

  • Glass (including rinsed drinks bottles and food jars)
  • Metal (including rinsed cans and tins)
  • Plastic (including rinsed drinks bottles and food containers)
  • Cardboard (preferably flattened)
  • Paper (clean paper only)
  • Food waste (from food preparation and leftovers)

Are you exempt from separating food waste?

You are exempt from separating food waste only if you;

  • Don’t prepare or sell food, or
  • Qualify as a rural location (Check using the Rural postcode finder tool), or
  • Produce less than 5kg of food waste per week

If you don’t recycle the fine can be up to £10,000

5 easy steps to stay within the law

  1. Look at what waste you are producing and get the right service from your waste contractor.
  2. Train your staff and label bins.
  3. Label bins stating clearly what should be recycled and ensure staff know what goes where. Use the free online poster creator tool to help staff to recycle effectively.
  4. Think before you throw. Don’t mix food waste, recyclables and non-recyclables. Only use black bags for non-recyclable waste.
  5. Think before you throw.

Get it right

Separate materials correctly in bins clearly labelled to collect food waste, recyclables and non-recyclables.

What happens to food waste?

Food waste is collected by your waste contractor. It is unloaded at the processing plant where it is shredded and heat treated in a sealed tank.

This can then generate energy and helps to produce agricultural fertilizers too.

Who can you contact for further information?

Email the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) at [email protected]

Contact Resource Efficient Scotland, a programme of Zero Waste Scotland, funded by Scottish Government.

Call 0808 808 2268

Email [email protected]

Resources to support members, customers and the business community

  • Overview about the Regulations
  • FAQs – frequently asked questions
  • The Business Resource Centre - is an impartial directory of local waste management services (including recycling and reuse organisations) operating in your postcode area.
  • Make a waste prevention plan Click here
  • Save money on waste – implementation guide. Click here.
  • Set up a recycling system. Click here.
  • Communicating changes to bins. Click here.
  • Webinar on how to get staff recycling effectively. Click here.
  • E-learning module on sustainable waste procurement Click here
  • Webinar 7 steps to getting the most from your waste management contact Click here
  • Hospitality sector guides on managing food waste Click here

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