Category Archives: Actions to tackle litter

Albions ABC of Waste Management – L Landfill Ban

Under the ban which was set by the Waste (Scotland) Regulations legislation in 2012; no biodegradable municipal waste would be allowed to be sent to landfill sites from January the 1st 2021. This ban applies to a wide range of waste types including the following European Waste Codes (EWC):

  • 20 02 01 – Biodegradable waste
  • 20 03 01 – Bulky waste
  • 20 03 01 – Mixed municipal waste
  • 19 12 10 – Combustible waste (Refuse Derived Fuel – RDF)
  • 15 01 06 – Mixed packaging.

However, there have been concerns raised in relation to local authorities and commercial waste operators in Scotland as they were deemed not to be making adequate preparations for the ban on time. A study commissioned by the Scottish Government published on April 2019 concluded that, based on 2017 figures:

  • 14 LAs, accounting for 55.5% of residual household waste (744k tonnes), have already made the financial investment to ensure solutions are in place before the ban.
  • 3 LAs (7.6% of household waste – 99k tonnes) have long term solutions in place post 2021 but no firm interim solution.
  • 6 LAs (13.3% of household waste – 177k tonnes) have an interim but no long-term solution secured.
  • 9 LAs (23.6% of household waste – 315k tonnes) have no alternative arrangements in place.

For commercial waste operators the report said that they “to do not appear yet to have made adequate preparations for the ban.” Overall, the report concluded that there would be insufficient residual waste treatment capacity in Scotland available to deal with waste generated once the ban is put in place. The extent of this gap will depend on the level of recycling that is achieved.

Highlighting concerns with the potential for Scottish residual waste be sent across the border to be landfilled in England due to the lack of progress of local authorities and commercial operators towards complying with the ban; the Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced on September 2019 that the ban will be pushed back to 2025.

While it is important that companies continue to prepare and develop infrastructure to meet the ban, the work Albion complete on waste compositional analysis for councils demonstrates there is still a lot which can be done to reduce the quantity of waste going for disposal in increase the quantity going for recycling, composting and Anaerobic Digestion. Recent analysis results continue to show –

  • 25-35% of food waste in residual waste
  • 5-15% recyclate in residual waste

Combine these results with only 55% of householders using their food waste system, would suggest there are huge areas of improvement possible.

Albion can provide you with the information you need to start introducing changes to drive consumer behaviour towards using their bins correctly and reducing disposal. We can also provide overall strategy and provide staff training to assist you in making these changes. To find out more or to have an informal chat please contact Jane Bond

Albion’s ABC of Waste Management – K KERBSIDE COLLECTION

Are You Helping or Hindering Scotland’s Recycling? How can this be improved?

  • Currently the contamination rate in the Household waste recycling streams ranges from 0.91% to 43.04%*
  • The average contamination rate for Scotland’s recycling is 17%

*These figures, provided by SEPA, do not include waste that was so badly contaminated it does not make it to the recycling facility and instead is sent to energy from waste facilities or landfill.

Contamination in the recyclate waste streams is currently plaguing Scotland’s recycling efforts.  Plastic is the main problem with people finding it difficult to determine which plastics are recyclable due to the range of plastic polymers and differences between recycling schemes. The BBC have estimated that incorrect recycling/disposal of plastics alone costs Scottish councils about eleven million pounds per year.

Kerbside collection of recyclable material generates income for local authorities. The better quality produced; the higher price councils will receive. If household residents do not separate the recyclable materials, or put the wrong items in the recycling bin, then the whole vehicle load of recycling may be contaminated and sent to landfill or incineration. As a result, the council will not receive revenue for the material and they will also pay the landfill cost.

Is Scotland Reaching its Domestic Recycling Targets?

  • Currently only 44% of domestic waste is put in the recycling bins
  • Scotland is working towards a 70% recycling target by 2025

It is clear that Scotland needs to increase both the quality and quantity of its domestic recyclate. How can this gap be narrowed? Education in the benefits of improving the quality of recycling is required across all councils. A poll conducted by Viridor in Scotland found; 77% of people would recycle more if they could see how the money saved was being invested in public services at a local level. The pending Scottish landfill ban will only increase the importance of achieving this target. When the Scottish landfill ban is implemented in 2025 it will be in councils’ best interest to do everything in their power to increase the recycling rate of their residents in order to keep residual disposal cost to a minimum.

How the Recycling System Should Work.

Most councils recognise the following materials as recyclates and will offer a collection service for; Glass, Plastic, Metal, Paper and Card, Garden Waste and Food Waste. In an attempt to improve recyclate quality and quantity councils are moving away from comingled recycling, thus simplifying the sorting process. The recyclate is collected, separated on a picking line and then bulked to be transported to the end buyer.

*Scottish Environment Protection (SEPA)

Why Should You Recycle?

Financial Benefits– Councils use profits generated to subsidise their costs which can reduce any potential increases in council tax for residents.

Environmental Benefits– Recycling reduces pollution caused from collecting new materials while conserving natural resources.

Social Benefits– Some councils give a percentage of recycling profits as charitable donations and others use savings generated to subsides other local programmes and projects.

What Can Albion Do?

  • Albion can provide councils with a range of services to help improve councils waste management services.
  • We can work with councils to develop waste management strategies to reform waste collection services with the aim of increasing recycling rates while reducing long term operating costs.
  • We can undertake waste analysis via sampling which identifies council’s current contamination rates of both their residual and recyclates, and provides vital information to aid decision making. The results of this analysis can be used to identify areas where improvements can be made.

To find out more or to have an informal chat please contact Jane Bond on 01292 610428.

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