Scotland Waste Law

The management of municipal waste and land use planning – principal differences between Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A similar summary table exists on the Defra website of the differences in Landfill Allowance schemes across the UK. If you wish to look at a specific policy area, click on the relevant heading.

Waste policy devolved to the Scottish Government (SG)

Devolved to SG; some powers reserved by Westminster.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has a statutory duty to protect the environment and human health from the effects of waste management and disposal. SEPA has both regulatory and enforcement functions.

In June 2010, the SG launched the Zero Waste Plan for Scotland. The plan sets the strategic direction for Scottish waste policy over the next 10 years.  

The regulatory changes required to implement the plan will be via the Zero Waste Scotland Regulations 2011* (due to be enacted in March/April 2012)

Key Zero Waste plan targets in 'Targets for Waste Recycling and Waste Composting' section

WASTE PREVENTION

The SG already has a 20 point action plan reduce household waste: the Household Waste Prevention Action Plan 2007

SG has also committed to putting a place a Waste Prevention Programme in line with the requirements of Article 29 of the rWFD (by 12 December 2013). An open consultation on this Waste Prevention Programme is due in Spring 2012.

KEY REGULATORY DRIVERS

The regulatory changes required to implement the plan will be enacted in the Zero Waste Regulations 2011. These Regulations introduce a series of regulatory measures including:

  • Source segregation and separate collection of key recyclable materials: paper, card, glass, metals, plastic (co-mingling will only be accepted where the waste hierarchy is not undermined and the outputs from the MRF are of a comparable quality to those collected separately at the kerbside); 
  • Source segregation of food wastes: in respect of separate food waste collections the Regulations will cover urban areas with a population over 125,000, other urban areas (10,000-125,000 population), and accessible small towns (3,000-10,000) and properties within 30 minutes drive of a settlement of 10,000 or more. The statutory requirement to collect food waste will be limited to households that can present a bin to the kerbside. It is hoped that current trials will enable clear best practice guidance to be made available promptly on, for example, food waste collection  services to high density housing (high rises etc);
  • A ban on  mixing separately collected recyclable materials;
  • A ban on landfilling the key recyclable materials;
  • A restriction on the inputs to thermal treatment facilities;
  • A ban on waste disposed of to landfill based on organic content

Where separate food waste collection is not being offered, there will be a requirement on LAs to promote food waste prevention and/or home composting

The timetable for introducing the measures is:

31/12/2013: Source segregation

  • All business must present dry recyclables, and medium/large businesses in food waste production, food retail and food preparation must present food waste for collection
  • Local Authorities must offer dry recyclables collection service and begin to roll-out food waste collections.

31/12/2013: Bans

  • Ban on mixing segregated materials
  • Ban on landfilling source segregated materials

31/12/2015: Source Segregation

  • Small food production, food retail and food preparation businesses must present food waste for collection
  • Local Authorities must complete roll-out of food waste collections

31/12/15: Bans

  • Existing facilities must remove dense plastic and metals from residual waste prior to incineration. All new facilities will be required to comply with this requirement on commencement of the regulations
  • Ban on the non-domestic use of food waste disposal units (macerators) and food waste digesters where the “treated” food waste is discharged into public sewers directly.

31/12/2020: Bans

  • Ban on biodegradable material to landfill

There are 32 single tier local authorities which are supported by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA).

The National Waste Management Plan (Scotland) Regulations 2007 transferred the duty to prepare a National Waste Management Plan from SEPA to the SG.

Scotland currently has 11 Waste Strategy Areas, each producing an Area Waste Plan (plans under review as part of the move toward Zero Waste Scotland).

Local Authorities produce individual Waste Strategy Implementation Plans in order to meet Area Waste Plans and Zero Waste Scotland objectives.

The Landfill Allowance Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2005 came into force in April 2005.

The biodegradable content of collected municipal waste is assumed to be 64% by weight.

The Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme is currently suspended in Scotland.

This Act does not apply in Scotland. 

In transposing the Directive 2008/98//EC, the Waste Framework Directive, the Zero Waste Scotland Regulations 2011 will require from the 31 December 2013 Local Authorities must offer source segregated dry recyclables collections to households and begin to roll-out food waste collections. The roll-out of separate food waste collections must be complete by 31December 2015.

The Regulations to source-segregate materials will cover urban areas with a population over 125,000, other urban areas (10,000-125,000 population), and accessible small towns (3,000-10,000) and properties within 30 minutes drive of a settlement of 10,000 or more. 

The statutory requirement to collect food waste will be limited to households that can present a bin to kerbside. It is hoped that current trials will enable clear best practice guidance to made available on, for example, food waste collection services to high density housing (high rises etc). 

Co-mingled garden/food collections will be permitted where they can be demonstrated to deliver equivalent or better environmental outcomes as a separate food waste collection. SG have stated that whilst LAs can make their own decisions regarding their preferred approach to food waste collection systems, further guidance may be issued to ensure common principals are applied by all authorities in making those choices.

Where separate food waste collection is not being offered, there will be a requirement on LAs to promote food waste prevention and/or home composting

Recycling, preparation for reuse or composting of LA household waste:

50% by 2013
60% by 2020
70% by 2025

Current 25% cap on local authority collected municipal waste sent to Energy from Waste (EfW) plants.

25% cap under review to incorporate emphasis toward dealing with all wastes and not just those managed by local authorities.

The Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004 came into force in August 2004, and require segregated storage of hazardous wastes.

The Scottish Government has committed to develop a Waste Prevention Programme for Scotland in accordance with the Revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) by the end of 2010. The programme will include Reuse activities.

No specific targets.  However, non-municipal waste framework and waste prevention plans in place. Waste audits have been undertaken by LAs and action plans produced.

SG Zero Waste Scotland Fund provides funding to local authorities and Zero Waste Partner organisations in order to meet recycling and landfill diversion targets.

Zero Waste Scotland Food Waste Programme: £4 million funding (2011-12) to support separate collection of food waste.

Best Value - under the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003: Best Value Guidance.

Required Accounts Commission Performance Indicators for waste management: waste disposal, collection, recycled, composted etc.

The Zero Waste Plan Scotland data and reporting requirements are:

  • Waste from households: by waste management method & Local Authority

Quarterly Waste Data Flow returns to SEPA.

There are various working groups looking at benchmarking for different services/activities.

Association of Public Service Excellence Scotland (APSE) represents every Scottish Local Authority.

Not paid in Scotland as all authorities are unitary.

Services delivered by community sector groups in certain areas may be recompensed via service level agreements with local authorities.

Zero Waste Scotland provides a wide range of training and guidance for key stakeholders as a means of driving the Zero Waste Plan forward.

Waste Aware Scotland provides a range of information, advice and resources for local authorities, community groups and the general public aimed at sustainable waste management.

Waste Aware Scotland also hosts a family of websites providing waste information for schools, businesses, students, as well as individual issues such as Waste Aware Love Food.

LTCS no longer used to directly fund waste management projects. 

Zero Waste Scotland has a range of funding opportunities for businesses, communities etc, for example the Zero Waste Community Engagement Fund:http://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk

Zero Waste Scotland offers support to local authorities in Scotland.  SWAG (Scottish Waste Awareness Group) and CRNS will be incorporated into Zero Waste Scotland from 1st April 2011.  2010 is a transitional year. 

Scotland and Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research (SNIFFER) addresses knowledge gaps relating to environmental issues.

Zero Waste Fund has replaced the Strategic Waste Fund and is providing funding to local authorities to meet recycling and landfill diversion targets.

The Scottish Waste Awareness Group (SWAG) is coordinating a national recycling campaign.  

Zero Waste Scotland offers a range of support business support programmes and training to:  SMEs, the food and drink sector, construction sector, compost producers and operators of Anaerobic Digestion facilities, and to assist with meeting start-up costs for commercial food waste and services or additional infrastructure at existing treatment facilities.

Community Recycling Network Scotland represents 3rd sector involvement in waste recycling/minimisation/re-use.

The Scottish Government consulted on “Safeguarding Scotland`s Resources – a programme for the efficient use of resources” in October 2012

Feedack form the consultation has not been published, but one of the key aspects was development of a dedicated Business Resource Efficiency service  -  Resource Efficient Scotland was launched in April 2013: www.resourceefficientscotland.com/

How:

The Waste Scotland Regulations 2012. The Scottish Parliament have adopted a phased approach to rolling out the key measure in the regulations, including:

Businesses to present metal, glass, plastic, paper/card for separate collection form 1/1/14;

Food businesses producing over 50kg of food waste/week to present food for seperate collection  from 1/1/14 (those producing over 5kg/week from 1/1/16);

A ban on key separately collected recyclables being incinerated or landfilled from 1/1/14 (plastic, card/paper, glass, metal, food waste); 

A ban on BMW to landfill form 1/1/21;

Clear guidelines have been produced on application of the Regulations in different areas (rural, sparsely populated/urban, densely populated etc); 

Zero Waste Scotland, an amalgamation of key Waste/Environmental organisations has come together as one to support/advise/fund stakeholders: http://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/

The Greener Scotland website has also been set up as a “one-stop shop” for information, advice and motivation to lead a more sustainable life: http://www.greenerscotland.org/

As has Resource Efficient Scotland (although the website is currently out of action)

Economic Benefits?
A key aim of hte Zero Waste Strategy Plan is to talk about resources rather than waste.  To reduce resource use via smart product aand packaging design, deal with the waste that is produced as sustainably as possible, and get as much economic value from waste as possible.

New technologies are currently being tested: nappy recycling trial with 4 Scottish Councils - http://www.knowaste.com/parents-carers-users