Olleco, a recycling firm specialising in the collection of cooking oil and other organic waste, has warned that operators who do not comply with the Scottish Government’s new Waste (Scotland) Regulations could not only fall foul of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) – should it seek criminal prosecution and a fine – but could also be missing out on the chance to make cost savings by reducing waste collection charges.
Under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations that came into force last month, all non-rural food businesses producing 50kg of food waste per week or more must segregate it for separate collection.
Vincent Igoe, head of Olleco Scotland, said that the new legislation offers a window “to look at how business can reduce food waste and view it as a resource”.
“Scotland is currently paying £95 million in landfill taxes,” said Igoe.
“The cost of sending waste to landfill increases by £8 per tonne every year and will reach £80 per tonne by April 2014.
“At the same time Scotland is throwing away a valuable resource.
“As food waste degrades it produces methane, which has a high calorific value which stores the potential to generate power.
“It is this powerful resource that Olleco collects and recycles.”
The Olleco boss said that although compliance with the new law may require an initial investment in new facilities and uplifts, the expense will be offset by the savings that can be achieved through waste management strategies.
“We estimate that every kitchen, by reducing the level of waste contaminated by food waste, could save money,” said Igoe.
For businesses with concerns over the space required for the additional bins required to reach compliance, Igoe suggested that operators “rationalise” the size of their waste containers to reflect the waste proportions and remain compliant.
Moving to a separated waste collection system could also give operators greater insight into where waste is being produced across their business, leading to an overall reduction.
David Friel of Lynnet Leisure Group, whose premises include Glasgow venues 29 and Rogano, said working with Olleco allowed him to establish “exactly how much food waste the business is producing and from where”.
“This means we have been able to review everything from preparation waste, stock control and portion sizes,” said Friel.
“As a result, we have been able to drive down the amount of general waste produced across the group, reducing this by more than 66% every day.
“This is something that we hope to build on going forward.”