Ambitious plans to meet Scotland’s waste reduction targets could cost an additional £1.3bn by 2025, claims a Scottish Government report.
The Meeting Scotland’s Zero Waste Targets: Assessing the Costs Associated with New Waste Management Infrastructure report considered the potential costs of meeting EU waste reduction and Scottish Government targets through a number of possible scenarios, which included failing to meet the targets and accepting subsequent fines, meeting some of the targets and meeting all the targets.
The report suggested a scenario, which it estimated to be the most cost effective in meeting all of the above waste targets. This scenario would require an additional 50 units of waste infrastructure, including 17 mechanical biological treatment plants (MBT), 10 Energy from Waste plants (EfW), 16 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants and 7 aerobic digestion plants. Each of these renewable energy strands would have to provide upwards of 200,000 tonnes a year of infrastructure capacity by 2013.
The report estimated that such infrastructure investment would cost £303m, with an additional £1.04bn in spending through to 2025 to implement the planned expansions.
The report said: “Costs would be reduced by implementing a split of 65/5 between source segregation and residual waste treatment to meet the 70% recycling and composting target.
“In effect, by continuing to improve the capture rates of current collection infrastructure and increasing source segregation, costs can be shifted towards the waste producer rather than centralised MBT units.”
Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) national waste policy unit manager Kenny Boag said of the report: “Delivering on the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan will present challenges to the entire waste management industry in Scotland.
“In the short term, there still remain significant environmental and financial drivers, not to mention domestic recycling targets that will clearly call for investment in alternatives to landfill disposal. SEPA is committed to working with the Scottish waste management industry to assist in the establishment of facilities and services that will ensure we can increase our efforts to divert waste from landfill and increase the recovery of value from our waste stream.”
The EU waste reduction targets will cap biodegradable municipal waste at 1.32 million tonnes per year in 2010, and restrict that figure by half in 2020.
Additionally, the Scottish Government waste reduction targets – as part of its forthcoming zero waste plan policy framework – include halting the growth of municipal waste in Scotland in 2010, as well as recycling 40% of municipal waste in 2010, rising to 70% by 2025.