Basic compliance has now changed in Scotland - The new Waste Regulations

Posted by Jamie Pitcairn, Director of Ricardo Energy & Environment in Scotland on 16 January 2014


This month saw the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2014 come into force.

As someone who has been involved in the development of these Regulations from the beginning including, sitting on the Review Board for the Scottish Government, they are very much welcomed. My hope now is that they deliver the results Scotland needs – both environmental and economic. Let’s not forget that the Zero Waste Plan, from which these Regulations emerged, was also launched as an economic strategy for Scotland.

The Regulations are expected to bring about significant benefits to Scotland’s economy and environment, such as:

  • • Supporting and expanding Scotland’s recycling industry will help reduce our demand for expensive virgin materials while also creating new opportunities for economic growth and jobs in the recycling sector.
  • • Replacing our reliance on landfill through increased recycling and maximise the quantity and quality of materials available for recycling to minimise the need for residual waste treatment capacity.

Time will tell as to how successful the regulations will be in terms of meeting these policy objectives. However, from a business’s perspective the single most important aspect of the Regulations is that they now change source segregation and good resource management practices from being a ‘nice to do’ to a ‘must do’. The consequence is that waste management practices within businesses that a few years ago would have been viewed as leading and going beyond what was expected are now simply basic compliance.

Through my engagement with businesses over the last 3-4 months I have experienced a much higher level of dialogue and engagement across all aspects of waste management including recycling and prevention. This is very encouraging as for years many businesses have let their focus on waste management and recycling slip. For too long attention has been on basic compliance and staying within the law as opposed to looking seriously at the opportunities and benefits good resource management can have on a business.

The regulations are the single biggest change to waste and resource management since the introduction of the landfill tax – let’s hope they have the same positive impact on our resource consumption and waste management practices. Overnight the Regulations have changed the position on compliance and this is focussing the minds once again.

Jamie provides further comments on the new waste regulations in Recycling & Waste World, to read the complete article click here.


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