Zero waste regulations: policy statement

Our policy statement on zero waste regulations.

2. Consultation on the regulations

2.1 Consultation proposals

The draft Zero Waste Regulations we consulted on earlier this year set out our proposals for new statutory measures to support delivery of our zero waste agenda. The following statutory actions were proposed:

Source segregation and separate collection of the key recyclable materials. These materials are paper, card, glass, metals and plastics. Food waste is also targeted due to the environmental benefits of managing biowastes separately. Different regulatory requirements for separate collection apply to the waste collection services provided to householders by local authorities.

A ban on mixing separately collected recyclable materials. Once recyclable materials have been segregated, they must be managed in a way which does not compromise their quality. The proposed regulations would give SEPA statutory powers to ensure that source segregated materials are not mixed with other wastes or materials in such a way as to hinder their recycling potential.

A ban on landfilling the key recyclable materials. This supports the upstream source segregation and separate collection measures taken to maximise levels of quality recycling by banning those same materials from landfill when they are source segregated and separately collected.

A restriction on the inputs to thermal treatment facilities. Not all recyclable waste is segregated at source and in some cases it will end up in the residual waste stream. To ensure materials which could have been reused or recycled are not incinerated, residual waste must be pre-treated to remove key recyclable materials, providing a second opportunity to capture recyclate missed at the source segregation stage. Alongside the other proposals, this will ensure that Scotland does not simply move from mass landfill to mass incineration.

A ban on waste disposed of to landfill based on organic content. This was proposed in order to protect the environment from the potential impacts of landfilling biodegradable waste and drive residual waste management up the waste hierarchy.

2.2 Consultation findings

Our consultation exercise showed strong support for the principles underpinning our draft regulations, however a number of technical and practical issues were raised, for instance:

  • cost to local authorities of putting in place appropriate collection and management infrastructure to collect recyclable materials, including food waste from households;
  • cost to local authorities to procure appropriate residual waste management infrastructure contracts, i.e. time needed to manage transition from current practice and contracts to services which deliver zero waste objectives;
  • time for the waste management industry to develop suitable collection services for their customers and invest in appropriate management infrastructure;
  • the extent of pre-treatment required before residual waste can be incinerated;
  • the potential for the ban on biodegradable waste to landfill to result in 'orphan' waste streams with no alternative management or disposal outlet;
  • the need for a longer lead in time to put in place appropriate residual waste infrastructure prior to the commencement of the ban on landfilling biodegradable waste.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

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