Waste

Scotland has already embarked on the journey towards a more sustainable approach to waste and resources. Recycling rates continue to rise, volumes of waste being sent to landfill are declining, and as a society we are increasingly aware of the environmental impact of our activities. Some key trends over the last five years include;

  • between 2005 and 2009, the total quantity of waste generated fell by 22%;
  • the total quantity of controlled waste landfilled in Scotland dropped from 7.3 million tonnes in 2005 to 4.7 million tonnes in 2009;
  • the quantity of household waste recycled and composted grew by 45% between 2005 and 2009.

However, there is still a long way to go before Scotland has a truly sustainable approach to the management of waste. SEPA is working in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland external link to deliver the Scottish Government's Zero Waste Plan which sets the path towards 70% recycling of all waste in Scotland by 2025.

SEPA has a duty to protect the environment and human health from the effects of waste management and disposal. In particular, we licence and monitor waste management facilities such as landfills and incinerators, administer producer compliance schemes for particular waste streams, regulate the transfrontier shipment of wastes and respond to pollution incidents and fly-tipping. We also collect data on waste production, recycling and disposal and are a statutory consultee in the planning process.

A guide to compliance with waste regulation for businesses is available at Netregs. external link

A priority for SEPA is tackling illegal waste management activities which can cause significant environmental harm and loss of business for responsible operators. SEPA, in partnership with police forces and other agencies, is undertaking targeted operations to tackle illegal landfill sites, unlicensed skip hire operators, large scale and persistent dumping of waste, unlawful collection, storage and breaking of scrap cars and unauthorised collection, storage and export of waste electrical and electronic equipment. If you have any information regarding illegal waste operators you can contact SEPA directly or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or give information anonymously via the online reporting form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. external link

Find out more about our regulatory work including application forms and guidance to operators, our data reports and links to support programs in this section.