Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

New waste duties for businesses in Scotland

New waste duties for businesses in Scotland

The European Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC requires member states to take steps to develop "recycling societies". This will involve a shift in the way waste is viewed; from being a problem to being a valued resource. This resource centred approach can be summarised in the five steps of the waste hierarchy.

What you must do

In addition to the requirements covered in the other sections of this guideline, businesses in Scotland must:

  • take all reasonable steps to apply the waste hierarchy to the management of waste
  • present glass, metal, plastic, paper, and card (including cardboard) for separate collection
  • take steps to maintain the quality of these dry recyclables presented for recycling, such as avoiding contamination by non target materials.

You may be able to present co-mingled materials so long as the collection, and then the management of the materials, is designed to produce high quality recycling.

Scottish Government: Guidance on applying the waste hierarchy (PDF, 753KB)

Food businesses

A food business is any business that carries out activities related to the processing, distribution, preparation or sale of food. Examples include:

  • restaurants and cafes
  • shopping centre food courts
  • canteens
  • hotels
  • pubs that serve food
  • shops that sell food
  • supermarkets
  • schools and colleges
  • prisons, nursing homes and hospitals.

If you are a food business you must be prepared to present food waste for separate collection.

Exempt businesses

Your food businesses are exempt from the regulations only if:

  • your premises are located in a rural area (as defined by the Scottish Government)
  • you produce less than 5kg of food waste per week
  • you deal with catering waste from international transport (Category 1 animal by-products) where existing controls still apply.

You can find out if your business is located in a rural area by searching the list of postcodes published by the Scottish Government.

Scottish Government: Defining rural and non-rural areas to support zero waste policies

The use of macerators to dispose of food waste in the sewer system is now banned, except for domestic premises and food producers in rural areas.

Further information

Regulations introducing these new duties: the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2011, the Waste Management Licensing (Scotland) Regulations 2011 and the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012.

NetRegs: Duty of Care for waste (Scotland) leaflet (PDF - 997KB)

SEPA and Resource Efficient Scotland: Segregating materials for recycling leaflet

Scottish Government: Duty of care - a code of practice

Zero Waste Scotland: The Waste (Scotland) Regulations - Frequently Asked Questions

SEPA: What is your Duty of Care?

SEPA: Encourage your customers to recycle

SEPA: Zero Waste

SEPA: Food waste recycling

SEPA Guidance: Food waste management in Scotland

Whats new on NetRegs

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    Read more on the DAERA website

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