Briefing – Issue 277 Supplement – Waste

by May 28, 2012 No Comments

Regs pass as business leads
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 were showcased by the Scottish Government after new waste regulations were passed by 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 5kg of food waste per week will also need to separate this for collection.

Householders will also 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.

To support the changes required by the regulations, Zero Waste Scotland will be investing £8m in councils and commercial waste management firms this year, including £5m to support the rollout 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 under way 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.

Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: “I am delighted that the 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.

“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.” Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “The 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.”.

UK food system ‘failing’
A strategy to tackle the UK’s “failing food system”, including greater funding for food waste collections, was unveiled by MPs.

The House of Commons’ Environmental Audit Committee report said ministers must better join up policies on health, environment and education.

The committee said it welcomed UK ministers’ decision to allow local authorities to use the £250m ‘weekly collection support scheme’ to initiate food waste collection.

The report said: “Without such collections, there is a risk to the use of food waste in anaerobic digestion (AD), as well as for packaging recycling rates.

“The Government must ensure that there is sufficient funding available for all councils to be able to make sufficiently regular and separated food collections, to help develop a healthy anaerobic digestion sector.

It should also “undertake new research to consider the opportunities and risks in using food waste to feed livestock”, the report said.

The report did not recommend a ban on food waste to landfill; a measure many in the AD industry have called for.

Carbon capture bid revived
Scotland’s hopes of hosting pioneering technology to capture and store emissions from power stations have been revived with the relaunch of a competition for £1bn of government funding.

The UK Government is making a fresh attempt to get carbon capture and storage (CCS) off the ground after a previous bid at Longannet, Fife was abandoned. Ministers hope to capture up to 90 per cent of carbon emissions and store them underground.

The funding will be available to a wider range of projects, including gas power stations and industrial plants. The Government also announced £125m for research and development of the technology.

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) and Shell are in a joint scheme to develop the technology at SSE’s gas-fired power station in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.

Rhian Kelly, director for business environment policy at business group CBI, said: “While we welcome today’s announcement, the Government must learn lessons from its previous competition which took too long and was eventually abandoned. This time around, the competition must be simpler and completed as quickly as possible.

“CCS has the potential to contribute significantly to our energy security, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs and become a major UK export for the future. If we are to gain any advantage from developing this important technology in the UK, the Government cannot afford to waste this opportunity.” Companies have until July to submit a bid, with a decision expected in the autumn. Schemes will have to be operational by between 2016 and 2020.

Projects are also able to bid for European funding which would see them up and running by 2016.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Following the disappointment last year over Longannet and the previous UK Government’s abandonment of the earlier Peterhead CCS project, it is essential that Westminster clearly demonstrates its commitment to supporting the commercial development of CCS, especially as the continued commitment from both industry and the Scottish Government is so clear.”.

Wired waste containers introduced
The University of Washington in Seattle has introduced solarpowered, wireless enabled waste and recycling points.

The kiosks consist of three containers for sorting waste composting, recycling and rubbish – each of which is equipped with a sensor that regularly measures the mass of material inside. The information is reported wirelessly to university staff.

When any of the three containers in a kiosk reaches a preset capacity, the device sends a text message saying the container is ready to be serviced. The waste bins are monitored remotely and can compact the contents, increasing capacity by 500 per cent and meaning fewer trips to check and empty them.

Staff also can run reports based on historic collection information.

The software records what’s going on with the hardware, said Jonathan Hempton, of BigBelly Solar, the company that supplies the system. By logging into the online dashboard, staff are able to see what’s happening on the ground in real-time rather than having to regularly check containers by hand.

“It’s changing the way we think about waste,” said Emily Newcomer, the university’s recycling and waste manager. “We expect the increased capacity and the as-needed servicing to dramatically reduce our fuel use and disposal costs while using a sustainable energy source to create these efficiencies.” The kiosks also include builtin billboards that will be used for educating the public about the benefits of composting and recycling, as well as how to appropriately sort waste materials into the containers.

Washington University will be the first university in the US to use this system to capture all three waste types, composting, recycling and garbage, in an outdoor public area.

The kiosks were sourced in response to the results from an annual ‘Trash-In’ event during which volunteers sifted through a sample of campus rubbish and found that 61 per cent of the garbage was compostable.

Recycling saves councils millions
Figures published in February show that Scotland’s household recycling efforts save local authorities £20m a year.

Commenting, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “ It’s far better that we invest money in frontline services rather than bury it in landfill so it’s great news that Scotland’s recycling effort saves our local authorities £20m each year.

“Our recycling campaign aims to encourage people to recycle more, more often. We have had huge successes with past campaigns which have supported significant increases in household recycling.

Latest figures show Scotland’s households already recycle nearly 44 per cent of waste but there’s a lot more we could all be doing.” Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “There’s a goldmine of valuable resources in our bins.

Recycling more things, more often is a simple step everyone can take to help boost Scotland’s economy.

Recycling avoids landfill tax, which can help to save your council money – but it can also help to create more jobs and develop industries in Scotland.

“Achieving all this depends on the choices people in Scotland make every day. By taking small actions to go greener together we benefit Scotland today and for future generations.” People across Scotland had the chance to learn more about what and where they can recycle locally through the Scottish Government’s campaign road-show events. The events were held at shopping centres and supermarkets in locations across the country including Shetland, Clydebank, Orkney, Ayr, Perth, Falkirk and Aberdeen.

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