Scottish businesses warned over recycling requirements

Inspections carried out by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have found that many Scottish businesses are failing to meet their legal requirement to present recycling separately from waste.

As a result, SEPA is calling on businesses across Scotland to meet their duty to recycle or potentially receive a £300 Fixed Monetary Penalty (FMP).

SEPA says Scottish businesses could face £300 penalty if they do not meet their duty to recycle.

Inspections of almost 7,000 Scottish businesses carried out by SEPA and local authorities have shown that generally 60% are compliant, a further 20% are on their way to compliance and 20% are failing to comply, SEPA has reported.

Duty to recycle

Eleanor Strain, Senior Policy Officer for SEPA’s National Waste Unit, has outlined the importance that businesses recognise their duty to recycle.

She said: “It is easy for businesses to recycle and many take their responsibilities seriously, but all too often we see the same mistakes being made. Small businesses may feel they are too busy or do not have enough material to recycle, while others could feel tempted to use on-street domestic or public bins to dispose of their waste without realising that this practice is illegal.”

“We have also seen businesses secure a recycling service from their waste contractor but then fail to train their staff on how to use it properly, or busy restaurants with a high staff turnover slip back from successfully segregating material if there is no management responsibility.”

Under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012, which were passed in May 2012, all businesses in Scotland must present metals, plastics, glass, paper and card for separate collection from January 2014 (see story).

Ms Strain said: “We would urge businesses who are unaware of their recycling obligations to get in touch with their local SEPA office now. These businesses can also receive guidance and advice by contacting their waste contractor or Resource Efficient Scotland.”


The Agency said by working in partnership with waste service providers and local authority enforcement functions it is able to target enforcement effort on the worst offenders.

To date, the SEPA said it has targeted around 80 of the ‘most persistently non-compliant’ businesses across the country to provide advice and take enforcement action if they did not improve their performance.

The Agency claims, as a result of this engagement, nearly 90% of these businesses have changed their behaviour, and two have been issued with a £300 FMP for failure to separate their food waste. The remainder still face enforcement action if they cannot demonstrate compliance.


Leave a Reply

The Blog Box

Other Publications from
The Environment Media Group

Back to top