It is just over a year since I launched our Zero Waste Plan. A plan that sets Scotland on a path to realising the full resource potential of items we often discard, as well as to becoming one of the highest performing recycling countries in Europe.
I have seen first hand the challenges and rewards that a resource minded approach to waste management can bring, most recently in Edinburgh. The roll out of their new food waste collection service is certainly challenging it brings food waste collections to households across a dense city landscape. But it also brings tangible rewards the food waste will be used to generate green energy and produce high quality fertilisers for Scottish farmers.
The Zero Waste Regulations are an important step towards my vision of a zero waste Scotland. The Regulations create the statutory framework in which future recycling services and waste treatment will be rolled out across Scotland. A renewed emphasis on source segregation of recyclable materials, complemented by bans on these important resources going to landfill or incineration, will help Scotland achieve its target of 70% recycling by 2025. By placing the emphasis on recycling, these measures will help meet my aim of minimising the need for residual waste management capacity in Scotland.
A ban on municipal biodegradable waste going to landfill by 2020, the first of its type in the UK, will not only ensure that we extract value from any remaining non-recyclable waste, it will also make a substantial contribution to lowering emissions of methane from landfill sites a key contributor to Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions.
We have consulted extensively on these Regulations and have responded carefully to the points raised by stakeholders. To ensure that there is sufficient time for small businesses to adopt new recycling services, we have moved introduction of separate food waste collection from small businesses to 2015. We have also extended the roll-out period for food waste collection from households, thus ensuring there is sufficient time for local authorities to engage with the public and business prior to the roll-out of new services.
These Regulations are an important step towards delivering my vision for a zero waste Scotland, but ultimately it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to recognise that everything we use and throw away is a resource which has a value a value that we should try to preserve, capture, and use again wherever possible.
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