Zero waste regulations: policy statement

Our policy statement on zero waste regulations.


Following extensive consultation, this paper sets out the decisions that will underpin the final form of the Zero Waste (Scotland) Regulations that will be laid before the Scottish Parliament.

The main changes from our consultation in January 2011 are:

  • a refined timetable that will drive forward the changes needed to meet the Zero Waste Plan and our recycling targets, while also providing sufficient lead-in times for local authorities, businesses and other waste producers. This includes moving the requirement for small businesses to recycle their food waste to 2015;
  • more time to establish the right mix of waste treatment infrastructure across Scotland by moving the date for introducing the ban on landfilling biodegradable material to 2020. The longer lead-in time between the requirement for separate collection (of food waste) and the ban on landfilling biodegradable material will allow recycling behaviours and practice to become more established. This will provide a more accurate picture of what infrastructure is needed to deal with non recyclable (residual) waste and will help avoid unnecessary reliance on residual waste treatment;
  • an extended roll-out period for local authorities to introduce food waste collection services. This will ensure that local authorities have time to establish robust collection services and raise awareness of these services and their importance with householders;
  • a set of criteria establishing where local authorities must offer a food waste collection to householders and businesses, thus ensuring that households across Scotland benefit from a similar level of service;
  • introduction of a ban on the non-domestic use of food waste disposal units and digesters to macerate or pre-treat food and dispose of it through the sewer network. This will ensure that the resource value of food waste as a source of green energy and as a replacement for traditional fertiliser can be realised;
  • introduction of measures to ensure that the quality of materials collected and processed is maintained, thus helping to extract the best environmental and economic value from waste. In the longer term, this will help ensure that there is a greater likelihood that key materials are recycled in Scotland, supporting the local economy and insulating industry from global fluctuations and unpredictable future quality demands;
  • provision to allow local authorities to co-mingle food and garden waste, but only where similar environmental benefits to separate food waste collection can be demonstrated and achieved;
  • a requirement (or a voluntary agreement) for local authorities to provide the public with a biennial report showing how and where collected materials are being recycled, and the actions that are being taken to ensure the best environmental outcomes are being achieved.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

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