Scotland starting to smell better

Food waste is being taken seriously in Scotland. Strong legislation is in force mandating commercial businesses to have separate collections for food-waste for weekly quantities greater than 50kg. This covers most of your restaurants, pubs serving grub, carry-outs and anything large scale like schools, prisons, universities etc. And it’s getting tighter. As of 2016 the weight limit is dropping to 5kg and extra measures such as macerators being banned from hospitals are being introduced.

This means opportunity, particularly if you already in the waste business. And it’s not just food. Down in the Scottish Borders green-waste collections by the council stopped as of March 2014. Fleet-footed enterprises have jumped on this, with a number providing a garden waste collection service on the back of the news.

I’m working with Forth Resource Management on the expansion of two businesses which are in this area. A food and green waste service which operates across Edinburgh, the Lothians and the Scottish Borders. It’s a fascinating project because there is so much opportunity for growth in a relatively poorly served market. There are a few main players but much still to play for as I’ve gleaned from speaking with numerous dissatisfied customers of the big boys. In the Borders the market is less crowded, geographically and competitively. It’s a big place with not much more than 100,000 people making it one of the most empty spots in the UK. This also makes it less attractive for the multi-nationals to head down to.

The bigger picture is for a cleaner, better smelling, less polluted country. Good news. But the enforcement will be difficult. Big council cuts have left holes where enforcements officers use to be. In some counties there are 2.5 people managing 50,000 properties. A solution would be to fund graduates, off the back of EU money, on 12 month contracts to go round a put the frighteners on businesses. Otherwise a bunch will fall through the net and Scotland will be a wee bit wiffier.

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