Food Waste Management in Scotland

Closed 29 Jun 2016

Opened 18 May 2016


Consultation on proposed new guidance on Food Waste Management in Scotland and review of SEPA’s end-of-waste regulatory positions for compost and anaerobic digestate.

SEPA is seeking responses to our consultation on guidance which sets out obligations along the chain of food waste management in order to achieve high quality recycling. This chain of management includes the waste producer, collection service provider, food waste treatment facility and final user of the food waste derived compost and / or anaerobic digestate.

Only food waste managed in accordance with the Guidance will fulfil the duty to segregate food waste, demonstrate compliance with duty of care as regards quality requirements and fulfil proposed waste acceptance criteria at food waste treatment facilities regulated by SEPA in Scotland. We intend to include standard permit conditions in all food waste treatment facility permits under a SEPA initiated variation to support the guidance.

We are also seeking feedback on SEPA’s revised regulatory positions for the Regulation of Outputs from Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Processes.  These revisions set out limits (by weight) of physical contaminants (including plastic) to 50% of those specified in PAS 100 and 8% of those specified in PAS110 standards (for compost and anaerobic digestate respectively).

This will align SEPA physical contamination limits with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) standards.

We appreciate that achieving these limits may be challenging for some operators and are proposing a phased implementation presented in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Proposed phased implementation of physical contaminant (including plastic) limits




1st April 2017

66% of PAS 100 levels

50% of PAS110

1st April 2018

50% of PAS 100 levels

25% of PAS110

1st April 2019


8% of PAS110

Compost or digestate which exceeds these revised limits for physical contaminants will be regulated as a waste and our presumption will be that such material is not be suitable for application to agricultural land under an  exemption from waste management licensing.

Why We Are Consulting

SEPA is seeking comments on the proposals from interested parties including food waste producers, collection service providers, regulated food waste treatment facilities and farmers, contractors or land managers involved in the application of food waste derived anaerobic digestate or compost to agricultural land.

You are encouraged to respond to this consultation by reviewing the documents listed in the Related Documents section and completing the online survey.


  • Agriculture
  • Local Authorities


  • Resources
  • Regulated activities