Category Archives: Actions to tackle litter

Could France’s Supermarket Waste Law Work in Scotland?

Nearly two years ago a law was introduced in France in which supermarkets were prohibited from destroying any unsold, edible food products.  The law obliges the retailers to sign contracts with charities agreeing terms for regular donation of the unsold produce. Penalties of up to 75,000 Euros and even facing up to two years in prison ensured supermarkets were quick to put deals in place with charities, however would this be an effective way of dealing with food waste in Scotland?

Under existing regulations supermarkets have to ensure their food is either composted (with compost being produced) or an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) process (produces digestate (a liquid land fertilizer) and energy in the form of methane gas). So at moment it is not ideal that food is being wasted but, due to the cost of treatment, there is a financial incentive for supermarkets to try and minimise the food waste generated. If they are simply allowed to give the waste away for free is that not simply shifting the responsibility away from them and onto the charities, which will then have excess material and will end up having to pay the disposal costs? This therefore raises questions whether charities would have the infrastructure and be equipped for the storage and distribution of this amount of food, or whether it would become a burden for these organisations?

Yes charities can make good use of the “free” food, but will they not just end up being a free disposal outlet for supermarkets?


Albion’s ABC’s of Waste Management – F

F – Fly-tipping

Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste, commonly left next to roads, in fields and in rivers. The nature and amount of waste can vary differently from as little as a single bag of house hold rubbish to waste of much larger quantities up to thousands of tonnes, like construction or demolition waste for example. While similar to common littering, fly tipping involves taking the waste from the place where it was produced with intent of illegally disposing of it.

The primary reason someone would fly tip is usually a financial one. It can be perceived that by simply dumping rubbish rather than going through proper processes and facilities that money and time can be saved. Therefore, it could be argued that lack of waste disposal facilities attribute to this illegal disposal of waste however laziness and public attitudes that someone else clear it up also have a part to play in this. While it may be a financial gain to some who fly-tip, the bill is ultimately footed by the tax payer as it was estimated that the cost of fly-tipping for the local authorities in Scotland was over £75 million in 2014. Also, private land owners are impacted financially by this as it is left as their responsibility to clear the land, which various sources have estimated the cost to be £50-£150 million per year. This doesn’t apply so much in Scotland as a lot of local authorities have  agreements with landowners to dispose of waste at no cost to the landowner.

Mountains of waste

As well as financial, fly-tipping can have social and environmental implications. The waste left can pose a threat to local environment and wildlife. For example, chemicals from the waste could potentially contaminate soil while some waste also might attract vermin, in turn spreading disease. This could spoil enjoyment of towns and countryside and reduce civic pride. Some areas may suffer repeatedly from fly-tipping, which can have quite a knock on effect to the area where property prices may decrease and local businesses can suffer.

Further information can be found National Fly-tipping Prevention Group




Increased penalties for littering and fly-tipping in Scotland

Litter louts will be hit with tougher fines from April 2014 – Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has confirmed Fixed Penalty Notices for littering will rise from £50 to £80 while flytipping offences will quadruple to £200 from April 1 next year, if backed by the Scottish Parliament.

It follows the National Litter Strategy Consultation in which two thirds of respondents indicated they were in favour of increasing the penalties. This consultation will help shape Scotland’s first national litter strategy since devolution which will be launched in 2014.

Please follow the link for more information: New penalties for littering and flytipping in Scotland

Source: The Scottish Government

European action to reduce waste through re-use

Organisations and individuals in Scotland are being encouraged to get involved in European Week for Waste Reduction (16-24 November) by promoting ways to re-use items rather than throw them away. 

This annual week is being delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and aims to raise awareness of how people can reduce waste and the benefits to everyone of doing so.  This year the awareness week particularly focusses on the re-use of materials and how people can prolong the life of their good and materials and lessen the impact of our current throwaway culture.

Free information materials are available to download to support organisations across Scotland to take part in the week and promote their activities which could include:

  • Arranging a repair workshop or craft event, where people can mend or ‘upcycle’ used items such as bicycles or furniture;
  • Hosting a swap shop or donation day for people to swap unwanted items with each other, including books,  or clothes, or anything else that could have a new home; or
  • Highlighting services available such as Scotland’s National re-use phone line – 0800 0665 820 – which helps people to donate unwanted household goods including furniture and electrical items by identifying local collecting organisations.

To get involved in European Week for Waste Reduction, please visit:

Source: Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland launches litter poll

Zero Waste Scotland has launched an online poll to gauge how Scottish people, communities and businesses feel about litter.

Run in tandem with the Scottish Government’s consultation on a national litter strategy and building on a hugely successful inaugural Litter Week of Action, the poll has been set up to take a quick ‘snap shot’ of people’s views on litter. It is supported by an animation showing the cost of litter to Scotland’s economy and the damage it causes.

Zero Waste Scotland’s online poll will be live throughout the Scottish Government’s consultation period and results will be made public in late September.

Please follow the link to gain more information: Online Poll