New waste regulations for Scotland

10th May 2012

Edinburgh retailers, Glasgow restaurants, and Alloa industrial parks are amongst businesses in Scotland who are joining forces to recycle more and save on costs. 

The projects are being showcased by the Scottish Government after a landmark step towards creating a zero waste society in Scotland was taken yesterday, when new Waste (Scotland) Regulations were passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Waste (Scotland) Regulations will require all businesses to separate paper and card, plastic, metal and glass for recycling by January 2014.  Businesses that produce more than 50kg of food waste per week will also need to separate this for collection.

Householders are also set to see changes as a result of the regulations as councils will increase kerbside services to include separate collections for paper and card, plastic, metal, glass and, with the exception of rural areas, food too.  

To support the changes required by the regulations, Zero Waste Scotland will be investing £8 million in councils and commercial waste management firms this year, including £5 million to support the roll-out of new food waste collections and £750,000 to help increase the availability of collection services to Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs.)

Zero Waste Scotland is also supporting collaborative approaches to recycling collections, designed to make it easier and cheaper for SMEs to recycle by working together.  Pilot projects are underway in Bathgate, Falkirk, Clackmannanshire, Alloa, and Dumfries and Galloway.    

In Glasgow, the Glasgow Restaurant Association is taking forward plans to bring its 84 members together to recycle food waste at reduced cost. 

Essential Edinburgh, a Business Improvement District* (BID) representing 600 levy payers, aims to work with local businesses and waste management company Shanks to let a single contract for waste and recycling services.  If successful, businesses could save up to 70 per cent on waste management fees per year. Working together will also reduce vehicle emissions and waste containers and bags seen on the street. 

Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, said:

“I am delighted that the waste regulations have been approved by the Scottish Parliament as they represent a major step in delivering our vision of a zero waste Scotland. These regulations will bring about a profound and long-overdue change in how we view and manage the waste that we produce.

“Innovative solutions to recycle in cost-effective ways signal a welcome pragmatism from Scottish businesses to meet the requirements of new waste regulations.  The Scottish Government, along with Zero Waste Scotland, is providing funding to help businesses find better solutions to managing waste. 

“We all need to realise that the price of and demand for raw materials is increasing globally, mainly down to rising energy costs, consumer trends, population growth and resource scarcity. To create a secure resource future we need to develop the infrastructure necessary to reprocess high quality materials in Scotland and reduce our dependence on raw materials from overseas. An increase in better recycling will provide the stimulus to drive this required investment and in turn create new employment opportunities and help Scotland become a low carbon economy.”

Denzil Skinner, Chair of Essential Edinburgh, said: “Our Zero 2 Waste scheme will provide a whole raft of benefits to the businesses themselves and also to the environment.

“Not only can we save each business money – often several times what they pay in their levy to us – but, very importantly, we will enable the waste to be collected in the most effective manner to divert it from landfill. This will become legislation for businesses in the coming years so it is prudent to start now.

“We are also helping the environment by reducing the number of collection lorries making journeys around the city centre, reducing carbon emissions. Finally we hope to improve the visual amenity of the area by reducing the number of bins and bags on the streets by providing shared bins when some issues with the regulations have been overcome.”

Robin Stevenson, Northern Regional Director from Shanks, said:

"We are delighted to be Essential Edinburgh's Zero Waste Partner providing new services and containers for separate food, glass and recyclate materials. We are already seeing tremendous support from local businesses that are now able to significantly increase their recycling rates as well as reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.”

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“The Waste (Scotland) Regulations are about unlocking economic opportunity for Scotland.  Our waste is a valuable resource we can no longer afford to ignore.  The potential to save money, create jobs, and grow Scotland’s recycling and reprocessing industry is huge.  

“Many businesses are already adopting ‘zero waste’ measures to give them a competitive edge.  By taking simple steps to reduce waste, Scottish businesses could save an estimated £2 billion.  Reducing waste in the first place saves on disposal costs and is best for the environment.

“We are here to help businesses to reduce waste and comply with new regulations. We are also supporting councils to roll-out new collection services to householders.  Last year, we provided £4 million to councils and businesses to help with the start-up costs for food waste collections, and this year we will invest a further £5 million in this activity.  We are also helping private companies and the third sector develop their businesses to create a competitive marketplace.”


*A Business Improvement District (BID) is a precisely defined geographical area of a town, commercial district or tourism and visitor area, where businesses vote to invest collectively in local improvements resulting in an improved business environment and improved local economic growth. BIDs are developed, managed and paid for by the commercial sector by means of a compulsory BID levy. 

The following projects are currently receiving support from Zero Waste Scotland’s £50,000 SME Recycling Fund:

  • Enterprising Bathgate, a BID with 420 levy payers, recently completed an eight week pilot to contract Changeworks to provide recycling services for paper, card, plastics, cans and glass to 35 businesses in Bathgate Town Centre free of charge. 
  • Falkirk Delivers, a BID with 424 levy payers, is currently undertaking a survey of their levy payers with a view to introducing a recycling service. Street ambassadors have received training to help them engage with the businesses to encourage return of the survey. 
  • ClacksFirst/Alloa Town Centre, a BID of 500 levy payers, in collaboration with Alloa Community Enterprises (ACE), has appointed a project leader for six months who will be responsible for working with ACE to set up a recycling service for the levy payers. 
  • MoffatCan has appointed a project officer for six months to set up a recycling service for local businesses, with the aim of delivering a service to 30-40 businesses in the local area. 
  • Zero Waste Scotland works with businesses, communities, individuals and local authorities to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use resources sustainably.
  • Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan.


Chris Nabney
Scottish Government Communications
0131 244 2018 or 07867375396 
Nicola McGovern, Press & PR Manager
01786 468804 or 07540 516156