Scotland plans to ban all non-household biodegradable waste from entering landfill by 2025


Plans to ban all non-household biodegradable waste from entering landfill by 2025 have been set out in the Scottish Government’s recent Climate Change Plan update.

A ban on household biodegradable waste being sent to landfill is already in place and the Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032 commits to consulting on extending this to cover business and non-municipal waste.

The proposals are part of a package of measures aiming to reduce food waste by one third by 2025 and recycle 70% of all waste by 2025.

Environment and Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham commented on the announcement: “Our commitment to tackling the twin-crises of climate change and biodiversity loss is unwavering and is central to our green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is clear that by transitioning to a circular economy and sending less waste to landfill, we will reap both environmental and financial rewards.

“For example, research has shown that 10,000 tonnes of waste can create 296 jobs in repair and reuse or 36 jobs in recycling compared to just six jobs in landfill or one job in incineration.

“Emissions in the waste sector are currently around 1.9 megatonnes per year. We have made good progress in reducing this but we can do better.

“By taking simple steps, such as cutting down on food waste or choosing reusable rather than single use, individuals as well as manufacturers and companies, can all do our bit to move away from Scotland’s throwaway culture, help reduce our contribution to climate change and build a more circular economy.”

Key initiatives include:

  • restrictions on the supply of specified single use plastic items, which are currently being consulted on
  • a proposed charge on single use disposable beverage cups
  • legislation to increase the carrier bag minimum charge from 5p to 10p next year
  • consultations in 2021 on electronic waste tracking, a mandatory national food waste reduction target and the mandatory reporting of Scotland’s food surplus and waste by food businesses
  • the establishment of a £70 million fund to improve local authority recycling collection infrastructure

In line with the EU Commission’s Circular Economy Package, a consultation will look at requirements to separately collect garden waste by 2023 and textiles and hazardous elements of household waste by 2025.

The Scottish Government has also announced that extra funding will be available to double the number of landfill gas capture sites from 12 to 24 by 2025 in a bid to harness the energy generated from landfill and maximise circular economy opportunities.