Businesses confident as new regulations approach

An independent survey of 500 Scottish businesses has revealed that 66% of firms are aware of the new Waste (Scotland) Regulations, which come into force from the 1 January 2014.  Of those who were aware, 92% said they were confident they will be legally compliant.

12 Dec 13

The new regulations, which will change the way businesses separate their recyclable materials for collection, are set to significantly bolster the Scottish Government’s ambitious target of 70% recycling and just 5% of waste going to landfill by 2025.

From January, all businesses, large and small, will be required to separate plastic, glass, metal, paper and card for recycling.  Most food businesses will also be required to separate their food waste.  The regulations will be enforced by SEPA and local authorities and those who flout the new laws risk a maximum £10,000 fine.

Commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland, the survey took a sample of 500 businesses from across the country to track awareness levels. Comprehension levels were also high with over 70% claiming to understand the effects the regulations will have on their business.  Awareness has been developed through a national campaign and marketing activities led by local authorities and the waste management industry.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“The Waste (Scotland) Regulations represent a major step in delivering our vision of a zero waste Scotland.

“When properly managed waste is a valuable resource, delivering both financial and environmental benefits for all of us. These important regulations will help bring about a profound and frankly long-overdue change in how we regard and manage the waste that we all produce.

“The Scottish business community has a vital role to play if Scotland is to meet its zero waste ambitions and it is pleasing to note that so many have already taken steps to ensure that they will be legally compliant from January 2014. It’s important that we all play our part to reduce waste and recycle more and I would encourage all businesses across Scotland to make themselves aware of their obligations under these regulations”.

Iain Gulland, Director, Zero Waste Scotland said:

“It’s good to see that most businesses are ready for the new regulations coming into force in January, but there’s still a job to do to ensure that all firms comply with the changes.

“There has been a collective effort from councils and waste management companies, working with ourselves and SEPA to get the message out – but we need to keep up the momentum and help businesses to recycle more and ultimately reduce waste.

“The example of The Hanging Bat shows how a small, busy business can make simple changes to put in recycling measures and by doing so reduce its waste to landfill by a massive 90%.”

Case Study, The Hanging Bat, Edinburgh

Calum Carmichael, general manager of micro-brewery and beer café, the Hanging Bat in Edinburgh, has been busy ensuring his business is ready to hit the ground running on 1 January by putting in place a few simple, easy to replicate, measures.

As well as clearly separating key materials - paper, card, plastic, metals and glass - for collection for recycling, the team at The Hanging Bat also uses fully compostable packaging which can be processed along with food waste.

Calum explained:

“We have always been mindful of our waste produce, but being a busy city-centre venue and serving up to 50 covers a day, as well as having a dedicated bar area, means that we aren’t often left with much time for lengthy recycling processes.

“However, by making a few simple changes we have actually managed to reduce our waste-to-landfill by 90% and we now get paper, card, plastic and food collected separately.”

Support available for businesses

Free online support for businesses is available at This includes:

  • A rural postcode finder to help food businesses determine whether they are exempt from presenting food waste for collection if they are in a rural area.
  • A detailed Frequently Asked Questions section. 
  • The Business Resource Centre, which offers a local search for waste management services, including recycling and reuse organisations.
  • A free poster creator tool, to help businesses create recycling signage and posters.
  • Businesses can also call (Freephone) 0808 808 2268 or email to speak to an advisor.
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