Scottish Government and COSLA announce agreement on new consistent recycling systems across Scotland.
Scotland's Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead was joined by COSLA spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability, Councillor Stephen Hagan, today to announce a new consistent approach to recycling in Scotland.
The Cabinet Secretary announced that the new system will make it easier for people to recycle, improve the quality of recycling and help local communities reap the benefits of a more circular economy.
The new Household Recycling Charter and associated Code of Practice was developed and agreed on by the Scottish Government-COSLA Zero Waste Taskforce. It includes a new three-stream recycling system, which will include one container for glass, one for paper and card, and one for metals and plastics, together with existing food waste and residual collections. Over time, the intention is to move to a common colour system.
Richard Lochhead said:
"This new consistent approach will sweep away the confusion that we all face every time we come across yet another difficult recycling system. It will maximise the quantity and quality of materials captured, and allow us to give consistent national messages about what people should do with their recycling, wherever they are in Scotland.
"This work has been undertaken in collaboration with COSLA, and I congratulate local authorities in taking the initiative with the development of this charter, and working together to deliver a good outcome for all Councils and, ultimately, for Scotland.
"This is a huge opportunity for Scotland, and as I set out in my circular economy consultation, I intend to align Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland support for recycling with the Scottish Household Recycling Charter."
Councils can sign up to the voluntary Charter from January. After signing the charter they will receive support from Zero Waste Scotland in developing plans to introduce the new system.
The initiative is also supported the by waste management sector, packaging companies, drinks companies, retailers and the third sector.
Councillor Hagan said:
"COSLA Leaders, by agreeing the principles of a more consistent approach to recycling across Scotland, have taken a step towards developing a hugely significant opportunity that will unlock the value in household waste, allowing councils to fully benefit from the economic opportunities associated with the recycling industry, creating jobs and delivering value for money services.
I believe that this proposed approach will make it even easier for people to recycle and would encourage everyone to support us in this by using the systems correctly and to their maximum to get the best value for money. Doing this is in all our interests.
I welcome the Cabinet Secretary's support for joint leadership on this matter and I would also like to recognise the input from experts and officers across local government who have provided significant technical and operational input and expertise throughout the development of this framework."
John Mundell, Chief Executive , Inverclyde Council and Solace Strategic Lead on environmental issues in Scotland said:
"The Charter and Code of Practice will help the public and Councils further improve recycling of domestic waste and help create much needed additional employment across Scotland. Our household waste recycling in Inverclyde was just under 57% in 2014 and I believe that the Charter will help us achieve the challenging national target of 70%. The Code is flexible and characterises good practice because it reflects the combined expertise and experience of local government waste professionals across Scotland and over time, it should deliver a consistent national system with all the associated benefits."
A circular economy is one in which we keep valuable materials in as high value use for as long as possible.
The Scottish Government-COSLA Zero Waste Taskforce met four times between March 2014 and June 2015. The Taskforce membership also included SOLACE, Zero Waste Scotland, SEPA, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scotland Excel.
In June 2015 the Taskforce recommended that a Charter be developed for more consistent collections, to support local authorities in delivering the benefits of a more circular economy. In August COSLA agreed to recommend that member councils consider signing up to the Charter, subject to further scrutiny of the Code of Practice. In November, COSLA Leaders approved the core principles and content of the Code of Practice, specifically the three-stream system for paper/card, glass and metals/plastics.
The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) and waste managers from all councils have been involved in the development of the Charter and Code of Practice over the last 18 months, with support from Zero Waste Scotland. The Charter is voluntary.