Waste and Recycling
52% of household waste in Switzerland is recycled,
compared with 8% in Scotland. The average tonne of household
waste contains materials worth about £400 –
incinerating a tonne of waste generates only £15
worth of electricity.
10 billion plastic bags are given away in the UK
each year. They take on average 10 years to degrade.
There has been a 90% reduction in plastic bag purchase
since the introduction in Ireland of a plastic bag tax.
Scotland is continuing to use resources at a faster
rate than they can be replaced. This undermines the
ability of future generations of Scots to enjoy these
resources and also reduces our current quality of life.
The Scottish Green Party believes that, as a society,
we need to reduce the quantity of the earth’s
resources we consume. However, much of our current resource
use is wasteful and unduly destructive. Therefore we
must seek to increase re-use and recycling as part of
a comprehensive strategy of using natural resources
in a sensitive and responsible manner. Our record so
far in Scotland is very poor and this must be addressed
as a matter of urgency.
To achieve this, there must be a fundamental change
in how we understand resources and their use. This will
require the Scottish Executive to reward good practice
as well as providing the opportunities for individuals
and businesses to put into action the desire for greater
opportunities to recycle and re-use that is frequently
expressed by many Scots. Disposal of waste through landfills
and incineration causes serious health and pollution
problems as well as being very wasteful. Greens also
reject the ‘quick fix’ approach of using
incineration in any form to dispose of household waste.
Green MSPs will work for the following:
We will develop a national resource use strategy
for Scotland, with a ‘zero waste’ approach
at its core. The zero waste approach is currently
being pioneered in New Zealand and various US states,
and would involve reducing the amount of waste that
is dumped in landfill sites or incinerated in Scotland
by half every 5 years. By 2008 landfill and incineration
would decrease by 50%, by 75% by 2013, and so on.
With this signalling to industry of the direction
of future resource use, organisations will have
time to adapt their current manufacturing to avoid
the generation of unrecyclable or unre-usable products.
What we call waste today will in future be regarded
as a valuable resource.
We will introduce financial penalties, such as
a plastic bag tax, to discourage wasteful use of
resources. Such resource taxes could help to pay
for recycling schemes without government subsidy.
This would be coupled with a Scottish-specific waste-disposal
tax, over and above the existing landfill tax.
We will support the development of community recycling
trusts, owned and managed by local people, supported
by local authorities and the Scottish Executive.
These trusts would develop locally appropriate methods
of recycling, re-using and composting local waste.
They would be paid for the material they collect
from the revenue generated by the waste disposal
tax and the financial penalties mentioned above.
Any profit would be ploughed back into community
facilities and events.
We will launch a major offensive on litter. Our
policies on packaging will reduce problems at source.
Within each council we will appoint a dedicated
officer whose sole responsibility will be to put
together prosecution cases for fly-tipping. We will
double the number of street bins and collection
rates. We will complement fines for littering with
community service programmes, involving street,
river and canal clean-ups.
.e will introduce a national programme of kerbside
recycling. This is needed if Scotland is to remove
itself from the bottom of Europe’s recycling
league. Until such a scheme is in place, the Scottish
Green Party will work for easy access, with or without
a car, to local recycling sites.
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