Scottish government launches waste guidance campaign

A campaign has been launched by the Scottish government and three other bodies aimed at helping residents to better manage waste in light of service disruption brought on by the coronavirus outbreak.  

As part of this, a new website – – will give householders and businesses updates and guidance on how to manage waste. Local authority websites will continue to provide the latest updates on local service changes, said Zero Waste Scotland.

Scottish government waste guidance
The campaign was launched by the Scottish government, Zero Waste Scotland, SEPA and COSLA

The campaign has been launched by the Scottish Government alongside Zero Waste Scotland,  the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).   

Advice includes storing waste for 72 hours if anyone in a household is showing symptoms of the virus, and cleaning bin handles with disinfectant, and also putting rubbish out the day before collections. 

Environment and climate change secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “We owe a massive thank you to all those in the waste industry who are working hard to keep services running in challenging circumstances. While they do their best for us it’s vitally important that we do what we can to help them by following the advice on properly dealing with and reducing waste.


The statement announcing the initiative explained that some waste and recycling collection services across Scotland are temporarily disrupted as a result of the coronavirus.  “This is necessary to prioritise the health of workers in line with government guidance and deal with the impact of staff shortages”, the Scottish government said.

“Now more than ever, we need to recognise the responsibility we have for the waste we produce”

Terry Hearn, SEPA chief executive

Other advice for resident during the pandemic includes:  

  • Wash and squash: Washing means there is less contamination in your bin and squashing your recyclables leaves room for more. Fill up existing bins with as much waste as you can 
  • Try home composting: Vegetable and fruit peelings, eggs shells, tea leaves and coffee grounds can go in a standard compost bin and create a natural fertiliser for plants 
  • Keep items at home until recycling centres reopen: Now is not the time to try and get rid of large items following a spring clean. Clearing up after flytippers ultimately costs the taxpayer, leaving less funding for essential services. Report flytipping via the Dumb Dumpers form on the Zero Waste Scotland website or reporting directly to the council. 

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of SEPA, said: “Now more than ever, we need to recognise the responsibility we have for the waste we produce, store, transport and dispose of. We all have a role to play in managing our waste during this period. 

“At SEPA, we are supporting vital waste services by helping businesses to adapt. We have published guidance to help those who are struggling, as well as temporary regulatory guidance specifically for waste management.” 


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