10 MAKING THE LINKS: WASTE
Car scrap yard
DISPOSING SAFELY OF WASTE IS IMPORTANT FOR OUR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING. DEALING WITH CURRENT LEVELS OF WASTE PLACES PARTICULAR PRESSURES ON SOME COMMUNITIES. ACTION IN AND BY COMMUNITIES CAN HELP US REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE WASTE, WHICH OTHERWISE ENTAILS AN UNNECESSARY DEPLETION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
10.1 Disposing safely of waste is important for our health and well-being. Dealing with current levels of waste places particular pressures on some communities. Action in and by communities can help us reduce, reuse and recycle waste, which otherwise entails an unnecessary depletion of natural resources. The energy tied up in waste is a major contributor towards our global environmental impact.
10.2 The National Waste Plan 18 sets out the direction of the Scottish Executive's policies on sustainable waste management and better use of our natural resources. The National Waste Plan is backed by a major commitment of funding through the Strategic Waste Fund aimed at raising recycling and composting rates of municipal waste to 25% by 2006, 30% by 2008 and 55% by 2020. The EU Landfill Directive also requires Scotland to divert significant amounts of biodegradable municipal waste (which gives off greenhouse gases) from landfill.
10.3 Significant progress is being made. Six years ago, we recycled or composted only 5.1% of our household waste. By 2004-05, recycling and composting increased to 17.3%. All 32 local authorities have received Strategic Waste Funding totalling £329 million to 2007-08 and received indicative awards of £1 billion to 2020 for recycling and composting infrastructure. £2.5 million a year is also available to support community sector waste projects.
The Scottish Nappy Company
The Scottish Nappy Company supplies, collects, cleans and delivers pure cotton nappies to and from households.
The company is highly aware of the environmental implication of its operations and makes every effort to minimise its impact on the environment. They actively educate potential customers on the environmental benefits of reusables and regularly assess all aspects of their daily business. Delivery routes and schedules are examined, as are the number of nappies delivered and returned to reflect usage. Gas, electricity, water and detergent use are monitored, and the most effective wash cycles are used. The use of a water heater was also monitored and reassessed for reduced power consumption. Water, energy and chemical consumption have been reduced through better pre-selection and sorting of nappies and the company uses an LPG delivery van, thus saving £2,500 in fuel costs.
The company estimates they have contributed to the elimination of around 32 tonnes of waste a year that would otherwise have gone to landfill, washing around a third of a million nappies annually. The Scottish Nappy Company has established a firm foundation for sustainable growth and economic viability through its environmental ethos.
10.4 The Executive is also committed to domestic waste prevention. Preventing waste at source is good for the environment and reduces the costs of treating waste. The National Waste Plan indicates that we aim to stop the growth in the amount of municipal waste arisings by 2010.
10.5 The Executive is funding the Waste and Resources Action Programme ( WRAP) to carry out work on home composting and real nappies and to work with retailers to minimise household waste from retail products. WRAP's work includes an Innovation Fund to support retailers and their suppliers in R&D projects that will minimise food and packaging waste originating from the retail sector.
10.6UK retailers, with a combined share of the UK grocery market of over 90%, have also joined forces with WRAP in a commitment, known as the Courtauld commitment, to reduce the amount of packaging and food waste. The retailers have pledged to support WRAP in:
- designing out packaging waste growth by 2008
- delivering absolute reductions in packaging waste by March 2010
- identifying ways of tackling the problem of food waste.
10.7 The Executive intends to issue a consultation paper shortly on domestic waste prevention. This will be a wide-ranging consultation, covering manufacturing, design, retailers, consumers, communities and local authorities. The key aim is to seek views on where the Executive should concentrate its efforts in order to have the most impact on domestic waste prevention.
10.8 Around 75% of Scotland's waste is generated not by households but by commercial and industrial producers. The Executive is consulting on a range of proposals aimed at further decreasing the amounts of business waste going to landfill. The Executive already supports a number of initiatives, such as Envirowise, which help business become more resource efficient by minimising waste.
10.9 The Executive also supports the development of markets for recycled products and provides funding to WRAP and Remade to stimulate markets for recycling. There are significant job opportunities, as highlighted in the green jobs strategy, for both the private and community sector in relation to the collection and processing of recycled material and the use of recycled material in products.
ACTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
10.10 The Scottish Executive will:
- continue to invest substantially in recycling, waste treatment and prevention in order to achieve our targets on recycling and diverting waste from landfill
- work with SEPA to decrease further the amounts of business waste going to landfill through an action programme to be decided in the light of the current consultation (which concludes in December 2005)
- consult on a domestic waste prevention plan
- review by spring 2006 how best to support businesses in making more efficient use of resources
- promote consumer awareness of waste issues and what to do about them as part of learning to make Scotland sustainable.