All Scottish businesses need to gear up to deal with new duties regarding recycling of waste

There can be no denying that we are now living in an era of “resource scarcity”, and along with the everyday reality of financial pressures, we know that businesses are keen to get more from the resources they use, be smarter on costs and contribute to a growing economy.

By making more efficient use of raw materials, energy and water, Scottish organisations can deliver more than £2 billion of savings.

Above and beyond a benefit to the bottom line, there is a major legislative change approaching that will push waste management up the agenda for all businesses, irrespective of their size.

Coming into force from 1 January 2014, the Waste (Scotland) Regulations will require all businesses and organisations to separate key recyclable materials – including paper and card, plastic, metals and glass – for collection for recycling.

Organisations in non-rural areas who are involved with food production, food preparation or food retail will also be required to separate food waste, although hospitals will be exempt from this until 2016.

As ever, businesses will look to the legal community to help them navigate through uncharted waters. For example, many businesses will require help in renegotiating waste contracts, especially against the backdrop of waste disposal costs rising ahead of inflation. The legalities around businesses who flout the legislation will also create a demand for specialist counsel.

For our part we are ramping up support with a new streamlined gateway for advice, as part of a new programme to help all Scottish businesses and industries to be more resource-efficient. Resource Efficient Scotland launched in April, and funded by the Scottish Government, extends Zero Waste Scotland’s remit to incorporate expertise on energy and water efficiency as well
as raw materials.

A free online and telephone advice and information service staffed by resource efficiency experts is available through or Freephone 0808 808 2268.

The Law Society of Scotland has been very helpful in offering us this opportunity to spread the word about the new regulations, and we are able to work with law practices keen to offer their clients bespoke information to help them get ready for when the regulations come into effect.

The Author
Marissa Lippiatt, Head of Resource Efficient Scotland
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