02 Zero Waste - Prevention and resource efficiency
Our vision is of a Scotland in which:
- All businesses are aware of and participate in resource efficiency.
- Every person is aware of and participates in waste prevention.
- The amount of waste produced falls and continues to fall.
- Government and the public sector lead by example on resource efficiency and waste prevention.
2.1 Definition of waste prevention
Article 3(12) of the revised Waste Framework Directive ( WFD) provides a definition of waste prevention:
"prevention" means measures taken before a substance, material or product has become waste, that reduce:
(a) the quantity of waste, including through the re-use of products or the extension of the life-span of products;
(b) the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment and human health; or
(c) the content of harmful substances in materials and products.
2.2 Waste prevention - municipal
The Household Waste Prevention Action Plan, produced in 2007, can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk/zerowaste/household This Zero Waste Plan will replace the Household Waste Prevention Action Plan. Figure 2 shows municipal waste arisings for Scotland for the past 5 years and shows that the total amount of municipal waste produced appears to have stabilised:
Figure 2: Municipal Waste Arisings in Scotland
Municipal Waste Arisings (tonnes, % of total)
Total Municipal Waste Managed*
Percentages are correct to one decimal place, any differences are due to rounding.
* Total municipal waste managed includes other treatment. Further details can be seen in Tables 2a and 2b, Annex B.
Sources: SEPA Local Authority Waste Arisings Survey ( LAWAS) 2003/04-2005/06 and WasteDataFlow 2006/07-2007/08.
Municipal waste includes some commercial waste and so is not an accurate way of measuring changes in the total of household waste produced in Scotland. Figure 3 below shows household waste arisings derived from estimates provided by local authorities to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA) for the past 5 years. This suggests that household waste arisings may be beginning to stabilise:
Figure 3: Household Waste Arisings in Scotland
Household Waste Arisings†
Kg per household
Kg per person
† All waste collected in the municipal waste stream, but not identified by a local authority as deriving from a commercial or other source, is counted as household waste. There are, however, concerns that not all local authorities are reporting commercial waste collected with municipal waste accurately. Over recent years the amounts of commercial waste reported have been declining, as household waste increases, and it is not clear whether changes in the way local authorities report commercial waste have influenced these trends.
Sources: SEPA Local Authority Waste Arisings Survey ( LAWAS) 2003/04-2005/06 and WasteDataFlow 2006/07-2007/08
GROS Mid-Year Population Estimate 2008
To ensure that progress on household waste growth is effectively measured, Government, with SEPA, will use the following indicators:
- the amount of waste produced per head (kilogrammes per head per year); and
- growth/falls in household waste arisings.
The National Waste Plan (2003) set a Scottish target to stop the growth in municipal waste by 2010. Government is committed to waste prevention, as part of its overall commitment to zero waste. Therefore, Government intends, as a minimum, to retain a target of no growth in municipal waste by 2010 and beyond. However, stopping waste growth may not be enough: waste prevention is at the top of the hierarchy. The National Waste Strategy in 1999 had a target of reducing municipal waste arisings by 1% per annum.
a) Should Government set a target of reducing municipal waste by 1% per annum? Yes/No.
b) Should Government set any specific targets on reducing household waste? Yes/No. If yes, what targets?
In addition, the revised WFD increases the emphasis on re-use. The Waste Prevention Programme ( Annex G) includes a Re-use Framework. A further way of increasing the emphasis on re-use might be to have a target. This target would relate to "preparing for re-use" as defined in the Directive (as this relates to waste) and would relate to municipal waste only. 4
a) Should Government set a target in relation to "preparing for re-use"? Yes/No.
b) If yes, what sort of target should be introduced and how will it be achieved and measured?
2.3 Waste prevention - commercial and industrial and construction and demolition
In 2007 a Business Waste Framework was produced www.scotland.gov.uk/zerowaste/business. This Framework contained a number of actions related to waste prevention, such as advice to business on cutting waste through delivery bodies such as Envirowise. This Plan will replace the Business Waste Framework.
It is harder to measure the overall impact of business waste prevention as the data on waste arisings needs to be treated with caution. However there are options for business waste prevention targets. Government could set national targets for 2011 when data has improved or set targets now for specific sectors and waste streams. Setting targets could drive improvements in data.
What targets, if any, should Government set in relation to the prevention of commercial and industrial waste and construction and demolition waste?
2.4 Summary of key prevention actions
The Waste Prevention Programme at Annex G outlines existing and planned work on waste prevention by waste delivery bodies and others. Government will ensure that the public sector lead by example on resource efficiency and waste prevention. A summary of proposed actions on Waste Prevention is below. A full action plan is attached at Annex T.
Planned resource efficiency and waste prevention activities
Use of Pollution Prevention and Control ( PPC) and other permits to drive waste prevention
Set up voluntary agreements with industry (along the lines of existing agreements, such as the Courtauld Commitment with retailers on packaging and food waste)
Encourage the development of Site Waste Management Plans (through voluntary means, but using the provision in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act on waste prevention and management plans, if required)
Work on packaging reduction (through voluntary means, but using the provision in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act on packaging reduction targets, if required)
Work on the reduction of food waste
Work on preventing unwanted mail
Work on home composting, including recognising the value of compost to gardeners
Support increased re-use (eg of furniture)
a) Have any potential waste prevention actions been missed?
b) Are there any actions listed which are not worth pursuing, and why?