The government-funded organization Zero Waste Scotland has warned that waste exports from the country are “unacceptable” and cause more harm to the environment.
Zero Waste Scotland has disclosed that in order to recycle steel, Scotland depends entirely on facilities abroad and in other areas of the UK.
In a bold summary, after Scotland announced that the nation exports three tons of waste every minute, the environmental charity, which is sponsored by ministers to promote the introduction of a circular economy plan focused on the principles of waste and pollution reduction, sounded the alarm.
We discovered that, as a “staggering” 1.7 million tons of garbage is shipped to other nations, the nation would export almost all of its discarded plastic waste.
Figures showing that almost 15% of our waste needs to leave the country have raised new concerns about the hopes of a green revolution in Scotland and the tens of thousands of jobs it is expected to generate.
‘Unacceptable’ – Scotland does not export its waste internationally, says Scotland’s Zero Waste
Currently, a recent analysis has shown that about 7.1 percent (14,807) of the 207,427 Scottish jobs associated with the circular economy are related to recycling.
The Zero Waste Scotland and Circle Economy study found that the bulk of Scotland’s circular economy jobs are concentrated in the South West and East areas, accounting for more than 75% of all Scotland’s circular economy jobs.
And it also indicates that every year more than 500,000 tons of scrap steel, worth £ 180 million, are exported because it is “totally dependent” on facilities abroad – including the UK.
The report warns that, because of the growing decommissioning of oil and gas facilities, this is “likely to increase significantly” in the coming decades.
By locating an electric arc furnace (EAF) in Scotland, increasing steel recycling will improve the economy and have the potential to create 180 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs, the study said.
‘Unacceptable’ – Scotland does not export its waste to other nations, says Scotland’s Zero Waste
It pointed out that the value of scrap-made secondary steel is three to four times higher than the scrap price.
It said, however, that the high electricity cost is a “major barrier” to moving steel recycling to Scotland, as the energy needed to melt scrap steel is currently “significant”
The highly prominent advocacy organisation, Zero Waste Scotland, whose controlling members include Scottish ministers and six non-executive directors of Zero Waste, has said that waste exports can not proceed.
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, warned more than a year ago that there was a “urgent need” to consider limits on plastic waste exports and a “clear objective” to recycle all our plastic waste here in Scotland.
And the need remains, he said.
“We should not be exporting plastic or other waste to be recycled elsewhere. It is unacceptable that the mess we make is passed on to other countries where the environmental and social damage it causes can be worse,” he said in a new analysis on Sunday.
Our ultimate aim as a nation should be to minimize the amount of needless materials that we use and waste in the first place, including plastic. To do this, by recycling them here in Scotland, we need to make better use of the plastic items we need.
This will not only dramatically reduce the waste and emissions created by waste worldwide, but also create much-needed, sustainable Scottish jobs. Exporting our waste ensures that these precious jobs are diverted to other nations.
“That’s why this huge amount of wasted material should also be front and center as we forge the green recovery to overcome Covid and the climate crisis.”
As a documentary demonstrated that massive piles of discarded plastic waste were found at the end of a jungle in Malaysia, his concerns were highlighted.
The fact that the plastic was sent for recycling originated in the U.K. “clearly showed that this is not a distant problem that we can turn a blind eye to, as if it has nothing to do with us,” he said in a separate interview.