SEPA calls on businesses to take action on recycling or face the penalties

  27 September 2017
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is calling on businesses across Scotland to meet their duty to recycle now or they could potentially receive a £300 Fixed Monetary Penalty (FMP).

Inspections, carried out by SEPA and Local Authorities, of almost 7,000 Scottish businesses has shown that generally 60% are compliant, a further 20% are on their way to compliance with a stubborn 20% failing to comply.

Working in partnership with waste service providers and local authority enforcement functions (both waste & environmental health), SEPA is able to target enforcement effort on the worst offenders.

To date, the Agency has so far targeted around 80 of the most persistently non-compliant businesses across the country to provide advice and take enforcement action if they did not improve their performance.

As a result, of this engagement, nearly 90% of these businesses have changed their behaviour, and two have been issued with a £300 FMP for failure to separate their food waste. The remainder still face enforcement action if they cannot demonstrate compliance.

Eleanor Strain, Senior Policy Officer for SEPA’s National Waste Unit, said:

It is important that all businesses in Scotland recognise their duty to recycle as non-compliance is not an option. Our regulatory strategy commits SEPA to using its powers to help Scotland be one of the first places in the world to successfully tackle the over use of the planet’s resources.

“There is still much to be done but this initial work demonstrates that we have the right enforcement tools and that by working together we can change the behaviour of even the most persistent offenders.

“It is easy for businesses to recycle and many take their responsibilities seriously, but all too often we see the same mistakes being made. Small businesses may feel they are too busy or do not have enough material to recycle, while others could feel tempted to use on-street domestic or public bins to dispose of their waste without realising that this practice is illegal.

“We have also seen businesses secure a recycling service from their waste contractor but then fail to train their staff on how to use it properly, or busy restaurants with a high staff turnover slip back from successfully segregating material if there is no management responsibility.

“We would urge businesses who are unaware of their recycling obligations to get in touch with their local SEPA office now. These businesses can also receive guidance and advice by contacting their waste contractor or Resource Efficient Scotland.”