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Tens of millions of pounds worth of valuable resources are locked up in mixed ‘black bag’ waste produced by the nations businesses.


According to the findings of a new report published by Zero Waste Scotland, millions of pounds worth of valuable resources for Scotland’s economy is being dumped by the nations businesses.

The report entitled, The Composition of Mixed Waste was based on research within three primary sectors, retail, education and health and social work.

The purpose of this report is to assist Zero Waste Scotland, government and government bodies, industry and commerce to develop policies, advice, tips and tools to help the reduction of mixed waste to landfill.

For the report mixed waste within the three main sectors, which is responsible for producing more than 50% of Scotland’s total mixed commercial waste, was examined.

Information from the report has found that over a quarter of the mixed commercial waste could be more widely recycled and more than half was potentially recyclable.

The most common mixed waste across all sectors was food, paper and card waste. Other materials which could also be recycled like glass, plastic and cans also appeared however they were in lower quantities.

Research from the report has shown that although three-quarters of businesses report that they do recycle or reuse some of their business waste, there are opportunities to do more. Businesses also need to encourage people to use recycling facilities as well as opportunities to introduce new recycling collections.

Amongst many of the key findings of this study, it also identifies how businesses can save money by reducing the amount they throw away.

Other important findings were:

  • Disposing of over 372,000 tonnes of mixed waste has cost businesses across all three sectors more than £20million in landfill tax last year (2011/12), a cost which could be reduced by minimising waste and recycling more.
  • Scottish educational establishments of all kinds send over 120 tonnes of unused paper to landfill each year, worth around £460,000.
  • The Scottish health and social care sector send more than 30,000 tonnes of paper waste to landfill. Including newspapers, magazines, and unused A4-type paper, over 80% of this is potentially recyclable.
  • The Scottish motor, wholesale and retail sector throws nearly £30million of whole or unused food straight in their general waste bin.

The Scottish Parliament viewed New Waste (Scotland) regulations in May; these regulations have been designed to prevent valuable waste from ending up in landfill.

Businesses in Scotland will be responsible for separating all paper and card, metal, and glass for recycling by 2014.

Businesses that produce more than 50kg of food waste per week will also need to separate this for collection by January 2014, and businesses producing between 5kg and 50kg of food waste per week will be asked to follow suit from 2016.

To view the report please, click here.

GPT Waste offer a full Waste Review Service free of charge. Find out how they can help your business deal more effectively with your waste: Call 0844 854 5000 or email here.

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