Paper: ZWTT (2008) (04)
ZERO WASTE THINK TANK FOR SCOTLAND
PAPER BY THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ON MUNICIPAL WASTE
Brief summary of targets and data
1. Key data on current municipal waste arisings is outlined in Annex A. In brief, there is around 3.5 million tonnes of municipal waste. We currently recycle/compost just over 30% of this; incinerate around 2% and landfill two thirds.
2. Scotland's share of the EU targets on the UK on reducing the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill and our current performance are as follows:
Biodegradable municipal waste landfilled.
1.39 million tonnes (current performance)
1.32 million tonnes (target)
880,000 tonnes (target)
620,000 tonnes (target)
3. The Scottish targets on municipal waste were outlined by the Cabinet Secretary in his Parliamentary statement of 24 January 2008. In brief, Mr Lochhead indicated that:
- the Government retained the target of stopping the growth in municipal waste by 2010;
- the Government was aiming at 40% recycling/composting by 2010; 50% by 2013; 60% by 2020 and 70% by 2025;
- no more than 25% of municipal waste should be treated by energy from waste by 2025 and all energy from waste plants should have high levels of efficiency.
- no more than 5% of municipal waste should go to landfill by 2025.
4. 40% recycling/composting in 2010 should be sufficient to meet Scotland's share of the EU target in that year. However, additional residual waste treatment capacity will be required alongside increased recycling/composting performance for the years 2013 and 2020.
5. Other key points in Mr Lochhead's statement were:
- Review of the National Waste Plan
- Establishment of the Zero Waste Think Tank
- Establishment of a short life working group with CoSLA to consider how best to spend much of the zero waste fund
- Review with CoSLA of the Landfill Allowance Scheme, which imposes limits on the amounts of biodegradable waste which authorities can landfill
- Revocation of indicative allocations made by the previous administration for waste infrastructure
6. The approximate composition of municipal waste is outlined in Annex B. In brief:
- garden waste represents about 23%
- kitchen waste makes up approximately 17%
- paper and cardboard approach 20%
- plastics approach 10%
- glass is around 7%
- textiles are around 3%
- miscellaneous items make up the remaining 20%
7. As indicated above, the Government is committed to stopping the growth in municipal waste by 2010. A brief summary of potential waste arisings in future years is attached at Annex C. This shows the impact of both achieving the waste prevention target and not achieving the target.
Key questions for the Think Tank.
8. The Cabinet Secretary's statement of 24 January committed the Government to high levels of recycling and composting and to stopping waste growth by 2010. The Think Tank will have a session on waste prevention at its meeting on 23 June and so the Government suggests that the discussion on 30 May should concentrate on recycling and composting and residual waste treatment. Clearly, though, there are policy links between waste prevention and recycling and composting and residual waste treatment.
9. We consider that key questions for the Think Tank are:
- What are the key waste streams that need to be targeted to get to the recycling and composting levels envisaged in the Cabinet Secretary's statement? Is there a priority order here and, if so, what are the criteria for deciding priorities?
- Scotland has a relatively large number of households living in flats (around 38% dwellings are flats) and also households in remoter rural locations. What is the best way forward to maximise household recycling in these circumstances?
- What are the most cost effective ways of increasing the collection of recyclate and compost and the balance between kerbside segregated collections, co-mingled collections with subsequent sorting and extracting recyclate from mixed residual waste?
- How much emphasis should be placed on getting the highest value for the recyclate as opposed to collecting as much as possible?
Obtaining value from the recyclate
- On the assumption that we do need to maximise the value obtained from recyclate, at least in the longer term, what more should central and local Government do to help achieve this?
Waste education and awareness
- What public education and awareness will be required as Scotland seeks to move to higher levels of recycling? Should there be any elements of compulsion?
Government support for local authorities
- The Scottish Government approach is not to direct local authorities and most of the resources available to local authorities for sustainable waste management are now in the general local government settlement. How best should central Government seek to influence, guide and support local authorities? What would authorities most welcome?
- What can be done to get greater recycling of the commercial waste collected by local authorities?
Waste treatment facilities
- What forms of infrastructure are likely to be required to allow for the treatment of recyclate and compost and to provide the energy from waste infrastructure envisaged by the Cabinet Secretary's statement? How best should this be procured?
Wider Government policies
- What policy changes might be required at central and local level to complement investment in collection and treatment infrastructure e.g. alternate weekly collections, planning policies which require developers to use heat from EfW plants etc.
Measurement of benefits and costs
- What can be done to ensure consistent measurement of costs and benefits in emerging local authority systems (e.g. life cycle assessment and financial costs)?
10. Think Tank members are asked to comment on these questions at the meeting.
Waste and Pollution Reduction Division
The Scottish Government
Data for calendar year 2007: Scotland
Biodegradable waste landfilled
Source: Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Household Waste Composition
Household Waste Category
Average Proportion of Household Waste 1
Paper & cardboard
General household sweepings
1. Source: Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP)
Scenarios for MSW Growth
Source: SEPA Quarterly Data (WDF)