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MINISTER POSES WASTE CHALLENGE

October 22, 2003 12:00 AM

Ross Finnie MSPConference delegates in Glasgow today were told of the need for a three pronged approach in challenging Scots to change their attitude towards waste.

Speaking to an audience of waste management professionals at the Challenge of Change Conference in Glasgow, Environment Minister Ross Finnie stressed the need to move the debate on from recycling to reduce and re-use. He said:

"The days of a disposable society are gone, we simply cannot afford to deplete the world of valuable finite resources. We must adopt a three pronged approach: Reduce the materials we use, Re-use what we can and Recycle what we no longer need.

"Waste has for too long been seen as a Cinderella service, one that only gained attention when the bins had not been emptied. Times have changed and it is now the responsibility of every householder in Scotland to deal effectively with waste.

"Under the National Waste Plan we have set out ambitious targets to transform the way we manage resources. Using resources more sustainably is about changing the ways in which we deal with waste and about changing public attitudes.

"The policies we have outlined impact on all of us. The Executive has provided funding so that local authorities can put infrastructure in place to recycle more of our household waste. In addition, I have just announced £5 million of funding for community sector waste management projects, to build on interim funding following reform of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme.

"Recycling is an imaginative policy; for example, glass from our wine bottles can be turned into water filters; or used as material in golf bunkers or used as decoration in tiles.

"But the debate is about more than recycling alone. We must also take action to reduce the amount of waste we produce and to re-use products, rather than just throw them away. Work is already going on to provide business with advice on waste minimisation - this is good for the environment and makes sound business sense, as it saves money.

"The Scottish Environment Protection Agency is working on advice to householders about minimising domestic waste. This will cover areas such as smarter shopping, dealing with unwanted mail and encouraging people to re-use packaging.

"Realising the value in resources that we currently squander will depend on all sectors of society changing our attitudes towards waste. That is the challenge that confronts us all."

A key target under the National Waste Plan is to recycle or compost 25 per cent of Municipal Solid Waste by 2006. The plan is backed by ring-fenced funding of £230 million over three years through the Strategic Waste Fund. So far over £70 million has been awarded to 14 local authorities.

The Eventful Scotland 'Challenge of Change' Conference takes place today and tomorrow at the Thistle Hotel, Cambridge Street, Glasgow, G2 3HN. It is attended by waste management professionals from the public and private sector.