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Preventing Household Waste in Scotland: A Consultation Paper: January 2006, Paper 2006/1

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List of Questions

Question 1: Do consultees consider that the Scottish Executive, SEPA and the Enterprise Networks, or other bodies sponsored by the Executive, such as Envirowise, should do more to promote eco-design in Scotland. If so, what? Options include:

  • Sponsoring research.
  • Organising competitions for eco-designers.
  • Working more closely with the Design Council and the Design Business Association
  • Establishing a Scottish ecodesign initiative, which could include a campaign to influence product designers in Scotland, an award, a 'waste charter' for designers, design guidelines and training?
  • Working more closely with professional institutions ( e.g. the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland or the Institution of Civil Engineers) and academic institutions on the mainstreaming of sustainability in academic courses and training that impact on design.

Question 2: Should the Scottish Executive and SEPA carry out further work on "waste profiles" of products? If so, what? Options include:

  • Sponsoring work in Scotland to outline "waste profiles" of products.
  • Sponsoring work in Scotland on "environmental profiles" of products. ("Environmental profiles" would consider environmental issues generally, not just waste). The ISO 14020 family of standards could offer an internationally agreed template for this work.
  • Working with other Government Departments across the UK on either "waste profiles" or "environmental profiles."
  • Working with the British Standards Institution, and EU Standards bodies, to ensure that waste, or sustainability generally, forms part of the development of technical product standards.

Question 3: Do consultees consider that the Scottish Executive should take further action in relation to the life-span of products? If so, what? Options include:

  • Funding research in Scotland.
  • Supporting research being carried out across the UK.
  • Providing better information to consumers, at either Scottish or UK level, on estimated life-spans of products.
  • Concentrating work on specific products ( e.g. washing machines, cookers, electrical goods generally)
  • Providing more support to companies making long-life products to an accredited standard, or to repair and refurbishment shops.
  • Investigating ways to require longer product guarantees, and improve availability of spare parts. This work would need to be undertaken at a UK level as consumer protection is a reserved matter.

Question 4: Bearing in mind that some products are always likely to be disposable, do consultees consider any action should be taken at EU, UK or Scottish level to minimise waste from disposable products? If so, what? Possible actions could include:

  • Voluntary agreements with manufacturers to minimise waste from disposable products ( e.g. by reducing the size of such products or by only using disposable versions of the products where essential)
  • Design for recycling.
  • A levy on disposable products. This would require primary legislation, would take a number of years and could be disproportionate.

Question 5: Would it be desirable and/or feasible to run an Integrated Product Policy pilot in Scotland? If so, for which product(s)? Would any Scottish-based companies wish to run an IPP project in Scotland?

Question 6: Do consultees consider that there is a need for guidance and support for retailers to build waste considerations into their procurement process? If yes, what guidance and support would be useful? It may be preferable to take this work forward at a UK, rather than Scottish, level.

Question 7: Do consultees consider that retailers and their employees could do with further training, support and guidance on waste issues? If so, what?

Question 8: Do consultees consider that food labelling requirements cause any conflicts with waste prevention? Is so, what are these conflicts and what can be done to reduce them?

Question 9: Do consultees consider that more could be done to collect and use surplus food from wholesalers, retailers, caterers and other outlets? If so, what?

Question 10: Do consultees consider that action should be taken to reduce food waste in the home? If yes, what action should be taken. One possibility might be to produce guidelines on retail promotions and their waste implications. Legislation in this area might be time-consuming, disproportionate and, in any event, more suitable at UK rather than Scottish level. Another option could be increased use of re-sealable packaging, to help food keep fresh for longer.

Question 11: Do you think the Packaging ( Essential Requirements) Regulations 2003 are working? If not, why not? What action could be taken to improve their operation?

Question 12: Could any further action be taken in Scotland to minimise household waste from packaging? If so, what? Options could include:

  • Better information for consumers on the role packaging plays, how its environmental impact can be minimised, and what action they can take. This may be a role for Environment Direct - see paragraph 4.8 below.
  • Better information for consumers on how much of the retail price of a product relates to the packaging, rather than the product. Again, this may be a role for Environment Direct.
  • More work to mainstream product refill systems in Scotland (eg a feasibility study)?

Question 13: Do consultees consider more could be done to encourage re-use either through deposit and return schemes or more generally? Options could include "reverse vending" trials in Scotland or trials of deposit and return schemes.

Question 14: Could more action be taken to reduce waste from the retailing of products? Possible actions include:

  • Measures to encourage more unsold products to be returned to the wholesaler.
  • Pilot projects on new IT technologies or new ways of providing services which reduce waste.

Question 15: Do consultees consider that retailers and manufacturers could provide more and better information on waste issues to their consumers? If so, what do consultees consider should be done?

Question 16: Do consultees consider that an annual Waste Aware Scotland award for the retail sector would be useful? If so, what form should this take?

Question 17: Do consultees consider that further action should be taken to make it easier for consumers to raise environmental and waste issues with retailers and other providers of goods and services? Possible actions could include the provision of further information by Government, consumer bodies and retailers on how to complain about excessive packaging and waste.

Question 18: Do consultees consider that environmental loyalty cards should be run in Scotland? It is likely that any such cards would have to be run by retail outlets. Is there any role here for the Scottish Executive and/or SEPA?

Question 19: Which of the above options would consultees prefer in relation to the use of plastic bags?

Question 20: What priority do consultees consider the Executive should give to reducing the use of plastic bags in the context of work to promote household waste prevention generally?

Question 21: Do consultees consider that further action should be taken in relation to unwanted mail and leaflets? If so, what?

Question 22: Do consultees consider that further action could and should be taken to promote home composting, food digesters or wormeries in Scotland? If so, what?

Question 23: Do you consider more could be done to promote the re-use, repair and second-hand sector in Scotland? If so, what?

Question 24: Do you consider more work should be done to take a Scotland-wide over-view of the re-use of products such as furniture, paint and carpets? If so, what?

Question 25: Do you could consider more could be done to promote community composting in Scotland? If so, what?

Question 26: Do you think that current community waste funding sources are designed to encourage waste prevention projects? If not, what changes do you think are required?

Question 27: Do consultees consider that recycling credits should be made mandatory? If so, why?

Question 28: Do consultees consider that recycling credits should be extended to re-use and/or waste prevention?

Question 29: Do consultees consider that there would be merit in a similar approach to Barnet's (making use of certain receptacles mandatory, to encourage recycling) being adopted by local authorities in Scotland? Clearly, before authorities in Scotland took any action of this type, they would need to be satisfied about the scope of the existing legislative powers in Scotland.

Question 30: Should the Scottish Executive consider action in relation to the size of bins for residual waste provided by local authorities and/or the frequency of collection by local authorities? Is so, what action should be taken? Potential options include:

  • Primary legislation on bin sizes and frequency of collection. However, this would take a number of years to be enacted. It also might mean a high degree of central control on an issue where there are bound to be local variations ( e.g. type of housing stock; nature of recycling services provided).
  • Advice on size of residual bins and frequency of collections It might be possible to provide such advice during the work on best practice in recycling which the Executive plans to carry out with authorities over the next year.
  • Making funding streams, such as the Strategic Waste Fund and Grant Aided Expenditure for refuse services, relate directly to size of bins and frequency of collections.

Question 31: Do you think that further research and guidance is required on green waste composting to minimise the effect on waste arisings? As indicated below, local authorities are already empowered to charge for the uplift of garden waste.

Question 32: Should the Scottish Executive consider amending the existing regulations allowing charges to be made for the collection of other types of household waste. If so, what changes should be made, and why?

Question 33: Should the Scottish Executive consider issuing guidance on charging for special uplifts of bulky items and garden waste? If yes, what should the guidance say?

Question 34: Do consultees consider that it would be helpful to consider further the issues about "direct variable charging"? The next step would be to issue a full consultation paper on this subject, outlining the arguments for and against and the financial implications.

Question 35: Do consultees consider the Scottish Executive should carry out further work on incentives? If so, what? One option would be trials of incentives with a number of authorities.

Question 36: Do consultees consider that waste management contracts/service level agreements should include incentives for waste prevention? If yes, how is this best achieved? Do consultees consider that waste management contracts/service level agreements can currently include perverse incentives to increase the generation of waste? If yes, what can be done to tackle this?

Question 37: Do you consider that contracts (other than waste management) let by local authorities have scope for provisions on waste prevention? If so, which ones? There is clear scope to minimise waste in construction, although this may not impact on household waste. The best time to make adjustments to contracts may be when they are due to be renewed/re-let.

Question 38: Should the Scottish Executive take action to ensure local authorities do more on waste prevention? If so, what?

Question 39: Should the Scottish Executive lay down targets on local authorities in relation to waste prevention? If so, what should these targets require and how would this be measured?

Question 40: Do local authority officers require more training on the skills needed to encourage waste prevention? If so, what training is required and who should provide it?

Question 41: Do consultees have any comments on the allocation of Strategic Waste Fund resources to waste prevention work?

Question 42: Are consultees aware of any other action which could be undertaken to prevent waste? If so, what?