Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Scotland waste is growing at an alarming rate !

The Scottish Executive Environment Group Preventing Household Waste in Scotland A Consultation Paper

The amount of household waste produced in Scotland is growing at an alarming rate and if changes aren't made it may double within 20 years. The average Scottish consumer wastes £1597 per year on goods and services that they don't use, £438 of this is uneaten food.

In a bid to stem this disturbing growth in waste, the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have published a consultation paper detailing actions which could be taken by everyone. Questions are being asked of designers, retailers, consumers and local authorities and include;

• What more can be done to promote ecodesign in Scotland, and what can be done to lengthen the lifespan of products?
• What further action could be taken to minimise packaging waste and would deposit-refund schemes be the answer?
• What information on products should be used to help people choose low waste alternatives?
• Should we look further at charging households for the amount of waste they produce?
• What could be done to reduce the amount of junk mail we all receive, and the numbers of plastic bags that we consume?

What is waste prevention?

There are a number of definitions of waste prevention. The consultation document takes it to mean:
Strict avoidance - the complete prevention of waste generation by, for example, reducing unnecessary consumption
Reduction - reducing waste by designing and consuming products which generate less waste
Product re-use - re-using a product in its original form, for its original purpose or for an alternative use
Qualitative waste prevention - reducing the hazardousness of waste.

What policy tools are available to tackle waste prevention?

There are a range of policy instruments to tackle waste prevention, including:

Economic instruments. e.g. taxes. Fiscal measures are a reserved matter for HM
Treasury, although local taxation is a devolved matter.
Incentives e.g. deposit-refund schemes.
Legislation e.g. producer responsibility legislation, bans on certain hazardous
materials and on certain materials going to landfill, direct and variable charging for
the collection of household waste.
Education and awareness raising, to change values/attitudes and then behaviour, e.g.
‘resource efficient shopping’, home composting, real nappies.
Voluntary agreements and partnerships such as supply chain and community
partnerships, e.g. on product design and packaging, take back/reuse, and direct

“Local authorities are well placed to take a lead on waste prevention and are key in engaging local communities to take part in waste prevention activities.” Women’s Environmental Network.

Page 25 discusses Local Authorities role on waste prevention measures

You can download this file (pdf) in here

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