Scotland's vision is for a zero waste society, as articulated in 2010's Zero Waste Plan. One measure adopted by the Scottish Government towards achieving this goal is a ban on the disposal of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) from landfill from the 1st January 2021, which was introduced by Regulation 4(2)(a) of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012. This ban applies to a wide range of waste types including the following European Waste Codes (EWC):
- 20 02 01 – Biodegradable waste
- 20 03 01 – Bulky waste
- 20 03 01 – Mixed municipal waste
- 19 12 10 – Combustible waste (Refuse Derived Fuel - RDF)
- 15 01 06 – Mixed packaging.
A full list of EWC codes affected by the ban can be found in Appendix 1. Diverting biodegradable materials from landfill is likely to result in environmental benefits, especially if the result is a boost to recycling as waste producers look to avoid residual treatment costs. However, there is a risk that, despite the significant notice that has been provided of the ban, the alternative waste management options that will be needed may not be available at a sufficient scale or at an affordable price at the point when the ban commences.
The aims of this study are:
- To consider the availability and costs of disposing of Scottish biodegradable municipal waste in other UK landfills or recovering energy in Energy from Waste (EfW) plants.
- To consider the opportunities and costs of recovering of Scottish biodegradable municipal waste by exporting the material as refuse- derived fuel (RDF) to continental or Irish EfW facilities.
The report presents:
- an analysis of the current waste markets for Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) in Scotland, Rest of the UK and Europe and the likely short to medium term trends including the current Scottish EfW pipeline;
- an assessment of the availability of capacity in these markets to take material from Scotland in the short and medium term;
- an examination of the logistical and environmental impacts of using these alternative markets in the short and medium term; and
- an assessment of the likely costs of disposal or recovery of material in this way.
All data and analysis presented are correct as of December 2018.