Home   News   Article

BUSINESS INSIGHT: What will happen to our waste?

By David Richardson

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Food waste in a kitchen.
Food waste in a kitchen.

As evidence for climate change grows, so governments are introducing measures to reduce individual and collective carbon footprints and ensure that we meet net zero targets. And right now, the Scottish Government’s Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill is at Stage 2 – the time when amendments are considered and decided by a committee.

As things stand, the Bill requires businesses to control waste much more vigorously than ever before, which is clearly good in principle. However, it’s how it’s done that matters: how it affects their daily operations. To be effective the Act must be well-designed following proper consultation with those affected.

More from David Richardson

More from our columnists

More business articles

Sadly, however, while 98 per cent of businesses in Scotland are defined as ‘small’, their views have not been sought in the Business & Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA). Similarly, the draft route map hardly mentions small businesses and, while funding for local authorities is mentioned, there appears to be little or no help for small businesses transitioning.

The Bill requires the mandatory public reporting of waste (and surpluses) – food only initially – which means that those in catering and food-related activities in hospitality or retail must report where their waste occurs and where it goes. It also paves the way for charges on single-use items, dubbed the “latte levy” because disposable cups are first on the list. Fine, but government must ensure that businesses have ready access to alternatives at comparable prices.

Smaller businesses understand the need to reduce carbon emissions to protect our planet. However, proposals must work in the real-world, which means both listening to small businesses and testing proposals on them before they go live.

We strongly encourage the Scottish Government to run a pilot for smaller businesses to test plans before implementation, establishing what additional costs they will face (data collection, reporting tools, staff training etc), whether they are proportionate, and whether they can be reduced.

With one in 10 small Highland business owners already spending more than eight hours each week – a full working day – on regulatory compliance, adding yet more red tape to this administrative burden must be done sparingly, especially when so many are short-staffed.

David Richardson is the regional development manager at FSB.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More