Recycle blitz targets shops, offices and parks
NEW laws could make it illegal not to have recycling facilities in workplaces and public areas, including shopping centres, lay-bys and beaches.
The Scottish Government says 80 per cent of people now recycle at home, and it wants to make sure they do not have to change their habits when they go to work or out for the day.
Legislation, out for consultation, could be brought in that applies to retailers, shopping centres, airports, beaches, car parks, cinemas, entertainment sites, parks, lay-bys, sports stadia and government buildings. Owners or occupiers would have to provide recycling facilities, arrange for material to be taken away and keep track of amounts collected.
If they failed to comply, they could be penalised.
The measures, aimed at helping Scotland come close to being a zero-waste country, were welcomed by environment groups.
However, there are concerns among businesses worried about being penalised if they fail to comply.
Other measures considered in the report include setting new targets for reducing packaging and forcing companies to buy recycled materials. It also suggests bringing back "deposit and reward" schemes to pay consumers for returning bottles.
Richard Lochhead, the environment secretary, said in the consultation document that he was aiming to change the way Scotland regards its waste.
"Moving towards a zero-waste society will ensure we obtain greater economic, social and environmental value from the resources which have been considered to be waste," he said.
He added that the Scottish Government believes legislation may play a part. "Other countries in the EU – with higher recycling rates than Scotland – have legislation in place to encourage environmentally sustainable behaviour by business, retailers, the public sector and individuals," he said.
The measures would help meet the 2025 targets of 70 per cent of waste being recycled, and municipal waste sent to landfill to be cut to 5 per cent.
Andy Wilcox, Scottish policy convener at the Federation of Small Businesses, said he was concerned about "unintended consequences". He added: "Too often, we have seen 'one-size-fits-all' legislation which unfairly discriminates against Scotland's smaller businesses."
However, Duncan McLaren, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, believes legislation is necessary. He said: "To get the consistency that means people can be confident they will always be able to recycle, I think the legal approach is justified."
He wants mandatory waste targets for businesses.
Iain Gulland, director of the Waste and Resources Action Programme for Scotland, said it made sense for recycling facilities to be put in areas where they were needed. "It's clear, especially with aluminium cans, for example, that most are drunk away from the home," he said.
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