VINCENT IGOE at Olleco Scotland, talks about the first six months of the Waste (Scotland) Regulations.
Q: The new regulations are ambitious, requiring businesses to separate their waste, including food. What have been the big challenges so far?
A: The amount of time we have had to spend with each customer: firstly to explain the regulations in layman’s terms and then to show them the cost benefits of segregating the waste into recyclable materials.
Q: Are waste contractors coping?
A: Many collection companies have seen the new regulations as a way to increase customer revenues and spend by simply delivering food waste bins and keeping everything else the same. We don’t. Landfill is almost twice the cost of recycling so segregating waste offers every restaurant the opportunity to save money, in many cases thousands of pounds.
Q: Are foodservice businesses coping with the changes?
A: Staff training and segregating waste streams within the kitchens has probably been the biggest challenge for the restaurateurs. The regulations require a big change in the culture of waste streams within kitchens and in many cases take time to get it right.
Q: Is it easier in some areas than others?
A: Of the main population belts we have seen a very positive reaction to the regulations from caterers in Dundee. Glasgow is a few steps behind; there it seems that organics are still being landfilled unnecessarily, but hopefully this will change in the next six months.
Q: How is policing of the regulations working?
A: It’s been a very light touch so far. We are aware of only one instance where a customer has signed up to our collection service because they were fined. Having said that, we do believe the regulations will be more stringently enforced in the second half of 2014.
Q: What’s the outlook for the next six months?
A: I’d like to think that restaurant associations and governments from around the UK will look at the regulations and see it as a fantastic opportunity and not regulation for the sake of it.