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Posted by Claire on 27/11/13

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Scotland’s Waste Regulations

There’s just over a month to go until Scotland’s new waste regulations come into force for businesses. From 1st January 2014:

 

  • Glass, metal, plastic, paper and card must be presented separately for  collection

  • Food businesses in non-rural areas producing more than 50kg of food waste a week must present their food waste separately.

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1. Separating Recyclables

Scotland is introducing these segregated recycling regulations to increase recycling rates. However it will vary according to the waste contractor; not all businesses will need to separate their recyclables:

Co-mingled Collections

— For example, where recyclables are placed in the same container, and then sorted by the waste contractor into different vehicle compartments at the point of collection,  this is still classed as “separate collection”.

recycling-bin

— And in some circumstances businesses will be able to present metal, plastic, paper and card together for recycling. This sort of mixed recycling is known as a ‘co-mingled’ collection. The regulations state that co-mingling recyclables is acceptable if, and only if, the materials are still suitable for recycling.

— Glass differs however. Co-mingling glass with card and other recyclables can affect the chances of recycling. For that reason, co-mingled collections that include glass are unlikely to accepted.

— All the materials just listed (metal, plastic, paper, card and glass) are ‘dry recyclables’. The new regulations state that dry recyclables cannot be mixed with  ‘wet’ waste, such as food, as this would render most materials unsuitable for recycling.

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2. Separate Food Collections

From January, many Scottish food businesses (defined as those involved in processing, distributing, preparing or selling food) will need to separate their food waste and present it separately for collection.

Food businesses Exempt

However there are two exemptions:

Exemptions for Food Businesses:

1. Food businesses producing less than 50kg of food waste don’t need to present food waste separately until January 2016. (Only food businesses producing more than 50kg need to comply from January 2014. Note:  a 120 litre bin will hold around 60kg of food waste).

2. Rural food businesses do not need to comply. This postcode finder tool enables food businesses to establish whether they are classified as rural.

 

What about Food Packaging in Food Businesses?

Being a food packaging supplier, we were keen to know what the new food waste regulations mean for food packaging!

The regulations state that food waste can be collected with biodegradable packaging waste if:

…that waste is of sufficient standard, that when everything is taken to an In-Vessel Composting* facility, the resulting compost meets a standard known as PAS 100**.
Or when it’s taken to an Anaerobic Digestion*** facility, the resulting digestate (bio-fertiliser) meets a standard known as PAS 110.


Composting facilities compliant with PAS 100 can only accept packaging that’s been certified as EN 13432***.

All of London Bio Packaging’s compostable food packaging is EN 13432 certified.

Anywhere you see this compostable symbol on our website, the food packaging conforms to the EN 13432 standard. Compostable packaging is a good choice for environmentally-conscious food businesses and caterers in Scotland looking to help the country’s ‘zero waste’ aims.

 

To find out what compostable food packaging is available, check out our online shop. We have all sorts, from coffee cups, takeaway containers and soup pots, to carrier bags and deli pots.  For more information call +44 (0) 20 7471 3700 or email orders@LondonBioPackaging.com.

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3. Why the new regulations?

The new separate recycling collections will increase recycling rates and help Scotland reach its targets – by 2025 it aims to recycle 70% of the country’s waste and send just 5% to landfill. By recycling, Scotland will decrease its demand for virgin materials. Manufacturing plastics and paper for example, not only uses up the world’s resources but also contributes to rising Co2 levels.

The new food waste regulations will also lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions because when food waste is sent to landfill it has very limited access to oxygen. So as it breaks down, it gives off methane – which, just last month, was revealed as 34 times more potent than Co2 (has 34 times the warming potential), not 25 as previously thought.  Removing food and biodegradable waste from landfill will reduce emissions so much that’s it equivalent to taking 166,000 cars off Scotland’s roads.

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4. What’s next if you’re a business in Scotland?

Resource Efficient Scotland and their FAQs database have all sorts of information to help businesses get ready for January.

There’s also an online tool called the Business Resource Centre, which lets you search for local waste contractors by postcode.

And if you have any questions about switching to recyclable or compostable packaging, please don’t hesitate to contact us  at London Bio Packaging – call +44 (0) 20 7471 3700 or email orders@LondonBioPackaging.com.

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Composting Process

Image courtesy of Ciao Italia

Notes:

*In-Vessel Composting (IVC) facilities allow naturally-occurring micro-organisms already in the waste to break it down. The process draws oxygen from the air and produces compost, with carbon dioxide and water vapour as by-products.

**The PAS 100 in an industry standard for compost. It looks at the raw materials going in, production methods, quality control and lab testing – all to ensure the compost is of a high quality for agriculture and horticulture.

***Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities differ from IVC because there, biodegradable waste breaks down in the absence of oxygen. Instead of  the compost produced in IVC, digestate (a bio-fertiliser) is produced. The biogas  (mostly methane and Co2) that’s given off is also used to produce heat, electricity or transport fuel.

****EN 13432 is an industry standard for compostable packaging. In brief, packaging that is EN 13432 certified will break down into compost within 12 weeks in a commercial composting facility.

 

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