Scotland’s Zero Waste approach is about changing the way resources are managed, so they’re used more effectively, as many times as possible, and that by doing so we minimise impact on the environment, says ESE World MD Dave Hughes.
The theory and ambition is laudable – reduce Scotland’s dependence on landfill, cut CO₂ emissions and conserve natural resources.
There’s no doubt Zero Waste actions will help Scotland’s business community cut costs and meet customer demand for sustainable products and services. It’s about reviewing current methods and challenging the norm through the supply chain, about doing things smarter and more effectively. It will help Scotland’s economy grow through the creation of new jobs in low carbon businesses.
The new legislation impacts on households, businesses, community groups, local authorities and the wider public sector. It demands change to the way waste is collected and dealt with by those responsible. Businesses are now required to sort metal, plastic, glass, paper and card for separate collection. That means more collection boxes and bins.
Food businesses which produce more than 50 kg of food waste each week have to ensure it can be collected separately. That rule doe not apply in rural areas as yet but it still means more collection boxes and bins for those businesses it affects.
Local authorities now have to provide a minimum recycling service to householders and there’s a ban on metal, plastic, glass, paper, card and food collections going to landfill. That would appear to require more collection boxes and bins also.
So the assumption might be that the requirement for the manufacture of all those collection boxes and bins will mean a drain on resources. Have the regulators missed a trick?
If Zero Waste is driven by the need for greater recycling, then why not insist businesses use containers manufactured from recycled product. That really does drive home the benefits of the circular economy. Effectively it means that Scotland would practice what it preaches.
It’s more than likely that similar initiatives and legislation will be introduced elsewhere in the UK in the not too distant future so we should be paying more attention to how we produce new bins. So when the time comes for a UK-wide approach we all need to be sure we can store and move waste without a huge demand on already stretched manufacturing resources.
We should all aim to use the resources entrusted to us in a sustainable way. When we produce new bins and containers we should aim for minimum CO2 impact. How? Well, at ESE, we’ve changed the whole process; from raw materials, through manufacturing, and transport…and back again.
Having been involved- so far – in the recycling of more than four million wheeled bins, we can now produce containers manufactured from 100% recycled material. The ESE World recycling service for old and faulty containers is innovative and unique in Europe.
Recycled plastic containers are robust and durable, and meet all guidelines for the RAL GZ-951/1 quality mark, the most rigorous and demanding standard applied to these products.
The level of recycled content can be specified by customers and is also dependent on colour requirements, but the most important feature is that we’re able to maximise recycled content through design and process experience, not just through availability of material.
Just because you have the materials to make a bin doesn’t mean that you can produce a container which will be as good. We must aim to use the resources entrusted to us in a sustainability way. As a result ESE has developed a successful partnership with Avanti Environmental. Together we offer a completely closed loop for recycling end-of-life wheeled bins.
The bins are collected, processed in the UK and the material is prepared for onward shipping to ESE manufacturing plants across Europe. The material is then used to manufacture high quality containers for supply across Europe, including into the UK market.
The key features of this partnership are that bins are collected from local authorities and private contractors as part of replacement projects, and Avanti arranges for the collection of the bins and takes them to their nearest processing location.
For large quantities, there are mobile grinding units available for onsite processing, which means we’re only moving what’s left of the bins, not huge quantities of empty bins that require trailer space. What’s left of the old plastic bins is then processed to produce a high quality material suitable for use in manufacturing new containers.
I can say with confidence, that’s zero waste.