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Edinburgh City Council Midlothian

Zero Waste Future Ahead as Landfill Gets Binned

15 September 2009

Zero Waste, a joint project between the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils, has been set up to help deliver the Scottish Government's aspiration for a Zero Waste Scotland.

The Project will work alongside and complement the extensive waste reduction, re-use and recycling activities of both Councils.

Whilst both Councils continue year on year to increase their recycling rates, a treatment facility is required to deal with the residual municipal waste. Residual municipal waste is the household and commercial waste, collected by Councils, which is left over after all reasonable efforts have been made to reduce, reuse, recycle or compost it.

In addition to addressing environmental issues and sustainability, European legislation on landfill diversion means that in coming years Councils could be subject to punitive fines if they do not reduce the amount of waste they are sending to landfill.

At the moment, it is not known exactly what type of facility will be built or which site it will be built on. Contractors will be asked to put forward their proposals for innovative ways to help meet these significant targets which will include the different types of facility and potentially a range of different sites. Only when these proposals have been evaluated will the Councils be able to determine the best solution.

In an attempt to encourage maximum interest and competition a brownfield site has been identified which could be used in the future for such a facility. Councillors in Midlothian and Edinburgh will consider a recommendation to purchase the site in the Millerhill area of Midlothian in the next week.

If the site purchase is agreed, planning consent will be sought for the site so it can be considered as a potential location for future waste treatment facilities which could include new business and job opportunities along with a Zero Waste Education Centre. Initial investigations into the suitability of the site are underway and a pre-planning engagement process will begin later in the year to capture the views of the local community and public in Midlothian and Edinburgh.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Edinburgh Environment Leader said; "Local authorities face significant challenges and targets in relation to the future of waste management in Scotland. However, we are determined to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost as much as we can.

"The reality is there will be waste left over for the foreseeable future and we can't continue to send this to landfill anymore. This project will find the best option available to treat this waste in a sustainable and green manner."

Councillor Russell Imrie, Midlothian's Cabinet Member for Strategic Services said; "Edinburgh and Midlothian are together working hard to deliver a Zero Waste Future. We need to find a solution that is suitable to treat residual municipal waste, which does so in a safe, clean and sustainable manner. We are about to embark on a tendering process which will ensure we get the right facility, at the right location and we will be making sure the public have their say in the process too."

Zero Waste, Edinburgh and Midlothian will work with the Scottish Futures Trust in the development of the project, along with other Government organisations such as SEPA to ensure a joined up approach to waste management.

Both Councils previously formed part of the Lothian and Borders Waste Management Project which was disbanded in early 2008 following a fundamental change in policy direction by the Scottish Government. The Government's current reduction, recycling, and recovery targets are the most ambitious in Europe.


Notes to Editors;

1. At the moment we send between 60 to 70% of our waste to landfill. In line with the Councils' commitment to Zero Waste we now need to find a new way of dealing with waste to ensure that by 2025 only 5% of residual waste will go to landfill.

2. Councillors are also being asked to agree the appointment of the following advisers to the project;
Legal - Pinsent and Masons
Financial - Ernst and Young
Technical - ENTEC
3. Examples of waste achievements to date;

- 5% decrease in amount of waste sent to landfill last year
- 2nd lowest residual waste per household in Scotland 07/08
- Innovative approach to recycling in hard-to-reach areas, e.g. underground recycling facilities
- 2nd best recycling rate for a city in Scotland 08/09
- Recycling rate for 08/09 was 30%
- 43.6% recycling target for 11/12

- Recycling rate for 08/09 was 37.4%
- Dry recyclate scheme is collecting the highest amount per household in Scotland
- Garden waste scheme is collecting the 2nd highest amount per household in Scotland
- Signed up to a 10-point Zero Waste Resolution
- 60% recycling and composting by 2020