Firms to be fined for not recycling food

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Large organisations face hefty fines if they don’t start recycling their food waste on New Year’s Day - an industry expert has warned.

Grant Keenan, managing director at Keenan Recycling, has highlighted a change in the law being introduced on January 1.

Any company or organisation producing more than 5kg of food waste each week will have to separate out their leftovers and out of date items and recycle them instead of dumping them in their wheelie bin to be sent to landfill.

The previous threshold was 50kg, meaning that many more cafes, hotels, restaurants and retailers are poised to be caught up in the new legislation.

If businesses don’t start recycling their food waste then the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency can hit them with an on-the-spot fine of £300, while repeat offenders face penalties of up to £10,000.

Mr Keenan said: “These are serious fines and they will certainly make employers think twice before letting their staff chuck food waste into the bin.

“The fines won’t be the only drain on a company’s bottom line though – once business owners realise how much food they’re wasting each week then they’ll soon start to look at how much they’re ordering, which is the Scottish Government’s intention.”

Zero Waste Scotland, the organisation setup to deliver the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan, estimates that businesses could save £192 million a year by reducing their food waste.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead said: “All businesses need to think carefully about what they’re doing with their food waste – even more so from 1 January when all businesses producing more than 5kg of food waste per week will be required to collect it separately, in line with our Waste Regulations.

“It will no longer be acceptable to put food waste in residual waste bins, so now is the time to think about the amount of food waste being produced and how it can be reduced – helping to save businesses money. Collecting food waste separately avoids food going into landfill where it emits harmful methane emissions.”