Organics sector growing in Scotland, shows new report

The amount of food waste handled by the organics reprocessing industry in Scotland increased significantly even before the introduction of waste regulations this year, Zero Waste Scotland’s latest report on the state of the composting and AD (anaerobic digestion) industry shows.

11 Dec 14

A Survey of the Organics Reprocessing Industry in Scotland 2013, released today (Thursday 11th December 2014)  in Scotland shows an increase in  material processed by the industry in 2013, even before the introduction of the Waste (Scotland) regulations on 1st January 2014.

The regulations state that businesses producing more than 50kg of food waste have to present it for separate collection. The requirement to present food waste for separate collection will extend to all food businesses which produce over 5kg of food waste per week from January 2016.

In particular:

  • The overall estimated increase for inputs has been 11,000 tonnes (9%) from 121,000 tonnes in 2012 to 132,000 tonnes in 2013
  • There was a large increase in material received from food manufacturers/processors (from 2,000 tonnes in 2012 to 38,000 tonnes in 2013).
  • The amount of input to AD plants in Scotland from local authorities increased  by 12,000 tonnes between 2012 and 2013
  • Separated solid food accounted for 64% by weight (71,000 tonnes) of the input reported, compared with 54% (43,000 tonnes) in 2012.  Liquids were 34% (37,000 tonnes) of the inputs reported compared to 8% (6,000 tonnes) in 2012.
  • There was a 13% increase in employment in the Scottish AD sector between 2012 and 2013.

This Scottish report complements WRAP’s comprehensive study of the AD sector across the whole of the UK, also released today for 2013, which  shows that operating capacity across the UK is up by 55% (from 2.07mt to 3.20mt).

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“This report shows a significant increase in the amount of food waste being processed by the organics industry in Scotland in 2013 and it augurs well for the impact of the waste regulations on the Scottish organics sector. The figures for 2013 show increases in key areas relating to the amount of waste being input, especially from local authorities, and increased employment and economic activity in the sector. 

“One of the biggest increases was in food waste coming from local authorities. Thanks to Zero Waste Scotland’s support, more Scottish households than ever before – 1.3m – now have access to a food waste collection, and we would expect this, together with the impact of the waste regulations, to have a significant impact the industry going forward.” 

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