Scotland boosts circular economy focus

7th October 2016

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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Waste ,
  • Management ,
  • Supply chain ,
  • Prosecution


Gary Chan

The Scottish environment regulator is to prioritise resource efficiency in its new business sector engagement plans.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) yesterday launched a new waste framework, which aims to drive down the amount waste produced and keep valuable materials circulating in the economy for as long as possible. It also targets waste crime and the damage associated with waste management.

In August, the regulator launched a new regulatory strategy focused on forming agreements with industry leaders to move companies beyond regulatory compliance and to target wider issues, such as climate change and the overuse of resources.

Sepa said that it planned to use these agreements to identify ways to promote the reuse of resources. Materials used and produced by businesses would be examined to determine whether any raw materials could be replaced with reused alternatives, it said.

Action on resource efficiency must take place across the whole economy and be linked to efforts to improve basic compliance with waste legislation and reduce waste crime, Sepa said.

The regulator wants to eradicate waste crime and plans to use tracking devices, satellites and drones to improve identification of illegal waste movements and disposal sites. Such activity would improve its knowledge of how waste crime emerges and operates..

Terry A’Hearn, Sepa’s chief executive, said: ‘Unlocking the value of material resources in our economy is crucial for bringing about the radical step change needed to build a more sustainable Scotland.

‘We will work with forward-thinking businesses to raise awareness of the value which waste materials have and ultimately help them turn waste into profit.’

The framework also includes plans to:

  • support innovation in waste and resource management practice to direct waste towards productive uses;
  • create a more efficient and modern permitting process; and
  • influence product design and waste prevention using regulatory tools, such as producer responsibility.

Sepa also launched a consultation on draft guidance to help businesses determine when waste materials can be reused in new products. The move follows concerns from industry over the lack of clarity in how to meet the EU End of Waste regulations.

Similar concerns have been expressed by businesses in England, but on Wednesday, the Environment Agency announced that the panel that helped businesses meet the regulations would be suspended because of budget cuts.

Meanwhile, Scottish environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham has awarded East Ayrshire Council more than £2m to improve its household recycling. The local authority will be the first to implement the Scottish Household Recycling Charter, which aims to end confusion over recycling by implementing the same system across the country.

Most Scottish councils have committed to implement the charter, according to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the body representing councils in Scotland

Cunningham also invited local enterprise development bodies to bid for funding of between £20,000 and £1m to encourage SMEs to develop circular economy projects. It is part of an £18m investment programme being managed by Zero Waste Scotland, using money from the Scottish government and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


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