Scottish kitchens snub new waste rules

Nine out of 10 commercial kitchens in Scotland still haven’t amended their waste practices despite most admitting they are aware of new Waste Regulations now in force.

Waste recovery specialist Olleco says research it has carried out shows that 87% of kitchens know they need to adhere to the regulations governing waste separation, but 93% haven’t yet done anything about it.

The survey also revealed that although 93% of respondents intend to amend their waste practices to comply with the new regulations at some point in 2014, only 34% had actually taken any action as of the end of January.

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The survey results come at a time when rumours are circulating that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will be enforcing the new regulations this summer, initially targeting large producers of waste, via trained Environmental Health Inspectors as part of food hygiene inspections.

Businesses that fail this aspect of the inspections could face criminal conviction and up to a £10,000 fine if they have ‘no reasonable excuse’ for not complying with the new Waste (Scotland) Regulations.

Vincent Igoe, head of Olleco Scotland said that while the busy Christmas and New Year period may have led operators to park the issue, they need to act now to avoid the summer blitz and the stiff penalties for non-compliance.

“I was not that surprised to discover that most businesses were aware of the new Regulations; however, it does worry me that, as we are now in March, only a third of Scotland’s many commercial kitchens have put new practices in place,” he said.

More than 60% of businesses interviewed by Olleco confessed they did not believe that complying with the new regulations would result in cost savings for the business. However, Olleco suggests that the opposite could be true and that the average kitchen could potentially reduce their waste collection charges by up to £500 a year.

“Doing nothing is not really an option for kitchens now,” said Igoe. “If they contaminate their dry waste with food, they will face penalties from their dry waste collector, as they in turn will incur fines for the disposal of food waste at landfill. As a result, costs can very quickly mount up for those businesses that put off getting compliant.

“For many operators, the biggest opposition they perceive is lack of space, however, the separation of waste into different bins should not require additional space as the number of general waste bins will be reduced. The challenge is more likely to be training staff to segregate waste correctly.”

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