The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 challenge every business in Scotland to change their approach to waste and treat it as a resource. This means maximising the economic value from materials your business might otherwise throw away, eg diverting food waste from landfill to generate heat and electricity.

A Business Improvement Districts (BID) project of businesses in Bathgate, West Lothian, wanted to establish the impact the regulations would have on them.

Following a competitive tender, we were awarded the contract to provide an eight week pilot scheme which aimed to familiarise them with the changes required for their businesses to comply with the regulations and achieve high-quality recycling.

Waste audit

We visited each of the businesses and undertook an audit to establish compliance with the regulations, so we could develop an action plan, customised to meet their unique requirements.

It was clear that paper and cardboard made up the bulk of their waste.

Customised action plan

We designed a system that made recycling easy for staff and held events to give them with the information they needed to comply with the new legislation, including the economic and environmental reasoning behind it.

We provided containers for on-site waste segregation and emptied them on a weekly basis. All the businesses had to do was put the right material into the right container to recycle as much as 80 per cent of their waste.

Without exception, a few weeks into the trial, the feedback from the Bathgate businesses was “this is easier than we thought.”

Waste reduced by half

Susan Johnston, Manager, Rainbow Nursery, says:

“Even after just a few weeks on the trial our residual waste had reduced. The nursery cleaners told me that their bin emptying had reduced by half.

“Normally we had a back log of around 15 black bags of rubbish sitting outside the nursery every Thursday as the bin was full already. After just three weeks of the trial we had no excess bags.”

In fact, the recycling trial worked so well for Rainbow Nursery that they continued working with us when the pilot finished, with the aim of becoming an Eco School.

“We really didn’t want to go back to our old ways of getting rid of our rubbish.”

Susan Johnston, Manager, Rainbow Nursery