Scottish Government
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Zero Waste Plan

Scotland's first ever Zero Waste Plan was unveiled today.

The draft plan details the steps Scotland needs to take on the journey towards a Zero Waste society. It proposes a number of ambitious approaches to reduce waste, increase recycling and send less waste to landfill, including:

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  • The potential creation of 2,000 jobs through collection, sorting, reprocessing and treating waste
  • Encouraging businesses to reduce waste, increase their recycling of commercial waste and to realise the economic benefits of doing so
  • The possible implementation of further landfill bans on materials including glass, metals, textiles and wood
  • Improvements to recycling facilities in public places and more kerbside recycling
  • Increasing the focus on re-use, including potential targets

Launching a 12-week consultation on the plan in Inverness, Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, said:

"Scotland must reduce its impact on the local and global environment. Our draft Zero Waste Plan maps out how we can reduce the country's waste, meet our highly ambitious waste targets and contribute to the work on climate change.

"This is a positive step in tackling Scotland's waste - viewing it as a resource rather than a problem. There are major economic benefits, as well as environmental gains, to be had including creating thousands of jobs and new business opportunities.

"We all have a part to play in meeting this vision, including the construction industry which contributes around 45 per cent of Scotland's waste. Reducing waste is good for business, as well as for the environment, as it reduces costs. We need to do more to tackle all types of commercial waste.

"The Scottish Government has already signed a commitment to halve its construction waste to landfill by 2012. I am happy to announce that the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations is also today pledging to do the same. I would urge others involved in construction projects to do the same.

"We are making progress but we must go further in relation to all types of waste. SEPA's latest provisional figures show that we are already recycling and composting 34.3 per cent of our municipal waste, but we need to reach 40 per cent by the end of 2010. The bar is set and we must work together to reach our goal of a Zero Waste Scotland."

Kenny Boag, SEPA's National Waste Policy Unit Manager, said:

"We have been pleased to have had the opportunity to work closely with the Scottish Government in relation to this draft Plan. There are a number of key tasks for SEPA which will help deliver the final Plan. These include helping to develop a supportive and proportionate system of waste regulation; working closely with our partners in the waste industry and Government to make further improvements to data on commercial and industrial waste; and helping to ensure that the planning system works effectively when it deals with waste management."

Councillor John Laing, Chairman of the Transport, Environmental and Community Services Committee, for Highland Council, said:

"We are delighted the Cabinet Secretary has launched this ambitious plan in Inverness. Highland Council is committed to improving its recycling rates and we aim to reach a recycling rate of 50 per cent by 2013. We welcome a Zero Waste Plan and hope all will make the most of this consultation phase and have their say."

The consultation asks for comments on a number of questions on key areas of delivery. The final version of the plan will be published in 2010.

To participate in the consultation, and for more information, please visit or contact

As well as outlining the Scottish Government's priorities and polices in relation to waste, the plan, when finalised, will comply with the requirement in Article 28 of the revised Waste Framework Directive for Member States to have a waste management plan. It will also comply with the requirement in Article 29 for Member States to have a waste prevention programme.

Scotland landfilled 1.26 million tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste. Scotland continues to meet the EU target of landfilling no more than 1.32 million tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste by 2010.

Key Scottish targets on the recycling/composting of municipal waste are:

  • 40 per cent by 2010
  • 50 per cent by 2013
  • 60 per cent by 2020
  • 70 per cent by 2025

The draft plan also proposes targets in relation to other forms of waste.

The Cabinet Secretary visited a Rok construction site in Inverness prior to the launch to see construction recycling in action. Rok is a nation wide construction company, based in local communities, who are firmly committed to promoting and achieving high standards of environmental performance. Rok have signed the WRAP pledge to halve all construction waste to landfill.

Viridor supplied all wood and glass props for the launch and demonstrated how materials can be reused and recycled. Viridor is one of the leading resource and waste management companies and currently work with more than 80 local authorities across the UK and thousands of private customers.

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