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Scottish Government & COSLA announce agreement on household recycling charter

The Scottish Government has announced a ‘new dawn’ for recycling in Scotland, with the news today of an agreement with COSLA on a consistent new system of recycling for Scotland. 

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Richard Lochhead announced that the new system will make it easier for people to recycle, improve the quality of recycling and help local communities reap the benefits of a more circular economy.

The Household Recycling Charter and associated Code of Practice was developed and agreed on by the Scottish Government-COSLA Zero Waste Taskforce. It includes a new three-stream recycling system, with one container for glass, one for paper and card, and one for metals and plastics, together with existing food waste and non-recyclable collections. The intention is to ultimately move to a common colour system.

Richard Lochhead said:

“This new consistent approach will sweep away the confusion that we all face every time we come across yet another difficult recycling system. It will maximise the quantity and quality of materials captured, and allow us to give consistent national messages about what people should do with their recycling, wherever they are in Scotland.

“This work has been undertaken in collaboration with COSLA, and I congratulate local authorities in taking the initiative with the development of this charter, and working together to deliver a good outcome for all Councils and, ultimately, for Scotland.

“This is a huge opportunity for Scotland, and as I set out in my circular economy consultation, I intend to align Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland support for recycling with the Scottish Household Recycling Charter.”

Councils can sign up to the voluntary Charter from January. After signing the charter they will receive support from Zero Waste Scotland in developing plans to introduce the new system.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, commented:

“Today’s announcement marks an important stage in Scotland’s commitment to increase recycling. We must make best use of the materials we have, for strong environmental and economic reasons.

“Adoption of the Charter by councils will help provide clarity and consistency for householders and the resource management industry. Zero Waste Scotland will be ready to support councils who sign up to the new Charter.”

COSLA spokesperson for Development, Economy and Sustainability, Councillor Stephen Hagan, said:

“COSLA Leaders, by agreeing the principles of a more consistent approach to recycling across Scotland, have taken a step towards developing a hugely significant opportunity that will unlock the value in household waste, allowing councils to fully benefit from the economic opportunities associated with the recycling industry, creating jobs and delivering value for money services.

“I believe that this proposed approach will make it even easier for people to recycle and would encourage everyone to support us in this by using the systems correctly and to their maximum to get the best value for money. Doing this is in all our interests.

“I welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s support for joint leadership on this matter and I would also like to recognise the input from experts and officers across local government who have provided significant technical and operational input and expertise throughout the development of this framework.”

John Mundell, Chief Executive , Inverclyde Council and Solace Strategic Lead on environmental issues in Scotland said:

“The Charter and Code of Practice will help the public and Councils further improve recycling of domestic waste and help create much needed additional employment across Scotland. Our household waste recycling in Inverclyde was just under 57% in 2014 and I believe that the Charter will help us achieve the challenging national target of 70%. The Code is flexible and characterises good practice because it reflects the combined expertise and experience of local government waste professionals across Scotland and over time, it should deliver a consistent national system with all the associated benefits.”

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