A third of Scottish small businesses could be caught out by food waste laws

23 February 2016 by
A third of Scottish small businesses could be caught out by food waste laws

A third of small businesses in Scotland could be caught out by new food waste segregation laws, which were introduced at the start of this year.

In a survey of Scottish SME business owners, 35% said they were unaware of the financial implications for failing to comply with the legislation.

The previous requirement involved segregating food waste weighing 50kg or more.

Failure to comply with the new laws could result in financial implications, from fixed penalty notices of £300 to fines of £10,000 from magistrates courts for repeated non-conformance.

The survey was commissioned by Biffa, which provides a food waste collection service to thousands of Scotland's SMEs.

The results also demonstrated a number of changes that firms within the food industry have had to implement to accommodate the new requirements. These include displaying new signage for staff (59%), reducing the amount of food waste produced (47%), providing training to staff (46%), allocating larger containers for food waste (30%) and appointing a new waste provider (24%).

But 16% of SMEs surveyed said they had not made any changes to their business.

Barry Crews, regional general manager at Biffa, said: "Scotland is leading the way in dealing with food waste and indeed, 'Zero Waste Scotland' legislation has been in place since 1 January 2014, to require food businesses producing 50kg or more of food waste a week to have a separate food waste recycling stream.

"Businesses have been coping well with this but widening the food segregation requirement to more of the SME business community across Scotland may lead to a rise in breaches and potential for financial penalties. This could create another burden on SMEs, who sometimes don't have the capacity or finances to ensure they are compliant with every single legal requirement."

Zero Waste Scotland is also encouraging Scottish households to reduce the 630,000 tonnes of food and drink thrown away every year. Food waste represents nearly a third of household waste in Scotland.

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