Scottish waste chief sees a “culture change” towards recycling

John Ferguson, waste management policy adviser at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, has expressed his disappointment at Scotland’s latest recycling rate of 5%. But he said the Scottish waste strategy heralds a “culture change” with emphasis on creating demand for recyclate.

Speaking exclusively to letsrecycle.com, Mr Ferguson said: “If the recycling rate has been downgraded it’s a calculation for transparency and a fair reflection of the very poor state of things.

“I think it’s got to be recognised there has been a lack of support financially for recycling for the past decade. Waste management has been a low priority and that’s the issue.”

However, he said that there was a change in thinking amongst politicians. “That old culture is going. I would say there is far greater pragmatism in the Scottish Executive to addressing waste management and funding is an element of that.”

Mr Ferguson is currently working on recycling targets and said a consultation paper would be released in April. But he confirmed that work started by the Scottish Remade project would be fundamental to raising recycling rates.

He added: “The national waste strategy will try to bring about a culture change. We’re working closely on markets. We have to press on with a functional approach – putting people in the field with producers to tackle problems. We’ve got to create demand. There’s no point being supply led.”

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