It's a waste, so bin food recycling scheme

During the Great Leap Forward in 1950s China, citizens and communities were expected to recycle scrap metal in backyard furnaces to meet national targets for steel production. In reality, it led to a vast misallocation of economic resources and the production of useless, low-grade steel.

Your report (10 June) that the Scottish Government is to compel citizens to recycle food waste for energy production therefore sounds familiar. The object of the new scheme is not specifically to generate low cost energy, but to meet national targets for renewable energy.

Looking at the entire production chain, the amount of food waste has declined massively due to the widespread introduction of refrigeration technologies for transport and domestic storage. In future, GM technologies can be used to reduce crop spoilage, increase food storage life and so further reduce waste. Unfortunately, the use of GM technology is banned by decree in Scotland, as is the use of clean nuclear power for the efficient production of energy.

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As a dedicated recycler, I'm all for the effective recycling of domestic and, more importantly, industrial waste, along with the production of clean energy. However, laborious manual separation of domestic waste needs to be replaced with automated single-stream recycling which improves recycling rates. To achieve the worthy goal of a clean, zero-waste Scotland will take much more than slopping out in the kitchen.


Williamwood Park West


The Scottish Government's zero-waste Plan is to be welcomed in tackling the 20 million tonnes of waste produced by Scots every year.

This waste mountain should be viewed as a fantastic resource, and rather than discarding materials to landfill, they can be used to create new products and generate renewable energy, heat and fertiliser, as well as creating jobs.

Research commissioned by the Scottish Government indicates that in order to meet Scottish Government and European Union objectives, 6.5 billion will be need to be spent up to 2025 to deliver zero-waste targets. This will require investment and partnership between the public and the private sectors for the delivery of next-generation infrastructure, including the likes of energy from waste plants, recycling plants and an overhaul of rubbish collections. What is also required is a streamlining of the planning system if we are to deliver such projects.

Waste provides not only a challenge but a tremendous economic opportunity.


Energy and waste team

HBJ Gateley Wareing

West Regent Street, Glasgow