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The National Waste Strategy


The National Waste Strategy: Scotland

This is the plan that has been formulated to help Scotland improve the way in which it deals with its waste. Through the National Waste Strategy, we will be able to put in place mechanisms that will protect the environment and our future.

Copies of the full text of the National Waste Strategy: Scotland can be found at the SEPA website: www.sepa.org.uk/nws/guidance/index.htm.

Why do we need a Waste Strategy?

The National Waste Strategy: Scotland was developed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in order to address environmental concerns about waste and also to help Scotland to meet the criteria laid out in UK and EC legislation. Many of these criteria will have to be met within the next few years.

What does the National Waste Strategy: Scotland cover?

This Strategy covers all household, commercial and industrial wastes. "This Strategy covers wastes defined in the Waste Framework Directive, as implemented into national legislation."

The Strategy does not cover:

  • radioactive waste;
  • animal by-products;
  • offshore waste.

The Waste Aware Scotland programme is concerned with domestic waste and primarily with making people aware of what they can do at home to help Scotland achieve the targets set out in the Strategy.

What does the National Waste Strategy: Scotland aim to achieve?

The main aims of the Strategy are those laid out in the Environment Act. In brief, these are:

  • waste recovery and disposal without danger to the environment or humanity;
  • establishment of waste disposal installations using the best technology available and without excessive cost;
  • self-sufficiency in waste disposal;
  • prevention of waste and a reduction of the harmfulness of that which does arise;
  • recovery of waste by recycling, reuse, reclamation and the use of waste as a source of energy.

The National Waste Strategy is based on the principle of sustainable development. That is, to encourage more efficient use of resources, to minimise waste and to recover greater value from the waste that we do produce.

Who is involved in the National Waste Strategy: Scotland?

Everyone is involved in the Strategy in some way. The main categories of involvement are:

    • Waste Producers - everybody produces waste at home, through work and through any leisure activities. Everyone can contribute to developing a better future by following the Waste Hierarchy.
    • Local Authorities are responsible for collecting and disposing of waste. They can help achieve the aims of the Strategy through planning better systems for doing this.
    • The Waste Management Industry provides the facilities for collection, treatment and disposal of waste. By developing and implementing better technology and infrastructure, they can help protect the environment.
    • Central Government provides policy and regulations, which can guide all the other people involved.
    • SEPA acts as an advisor.
    • Voluntary and Non-Profit Organisations are involved in keeping the public informed and influencing public thinking. They also contributes to local initiatives, carrying out research and providing training and education.

Due to the fact that Scotland is so diverse in terms of demography and topography, the country has been split into 11 Waste Strategy Areas.

Each of these areas was required to examine its waste issues and the options for the future. Following public consultation on the various options, a Draft Area Waste Plan was formulated by each Area Waste Group.

After the Draft Plans were consulted on, final plans were made and will soon be set in motion. Click here to find out more about what's happening in your area.

An integration exercise was also carried out in order to determine the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) for Scotland as a whole. This BPEO is based on the 11 Area Waste Plans and is outlined in the National Waste Plan, 2003. If you would like to read the report on the integration process, please click here to download it from the SEPA website.

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2003: The National Waste Plan

The National Waste Strategy has now been translated into a plan of action.

Scotland now has targets as laid out in the National Waste Plan to reduce the amount of waste that we send to landfill. The plan outlines the following targets:

    • by 2006 we aim to recycle 25% of our waste;
    • by 2010 we aim to stop the yearly increase in the amount of waste that we produce;
    • by 2020 we aim to collect some waste materials separately for recycling from 90% of households;
    • by 2020 we aim for a 55% recycling rate.

To order a copy of the National Waste Plan please telephone the Waste Action Line at 0800 389 5270.

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Priority Waste Streams

At the moment, the National Waste Plan and all the Area Waste Plans concentrate on Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). This is the waste collected from households and businesses by Local Authorities.

Once better data is available for other waste streams, there will be more detailed action plans for dealing with these.

Some priority waste streams have been identified and are being investigated. These include:

    • agricultural waste
    • batteries and accumulators
    • CFCs and other ozone depleters
    • clinical waste
    • construction and demolition waste
    • end of life vehicles
    • household hazardous waste
    • packaging waste
    • newsprint
    • tyres
    • waste electrical and electronic equipment
    • waste oils


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National Waste Strategy logo



















The National Waste Plan



Waste Action Line

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Scottish Executive link

If you have any queries, please email us, or call 01786 471 333.

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