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Date: Mon 6 February 2006

Reduce Reuse Recycle - says UNISON

UNISON - Scotland's public service union - today (Monday) launched a new Waste Management Charter for the public sector, as part of Scottish Environment Week 2006.

The six point charter* urges public sector organisations to set challenging targets to reduce the amount of waste they produce and to use their purchasing power to support sustainable development. UNISON Scotland believes that the sector can help lead by example in ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle' and similar campaigns by developing clear internal waste management and recycling strategies.

Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: "Scotland must drastically cut the amount of waste sent to landfill, which is a major source of greenhouse and other gases. We must all transform the way we deal with waste. This applies to individuals, families and the public, private and voluntary sectors.

"Local authorities, through National and Area Waste Plans, must meet European legislative targets on waste and recycling. The public sector can also play a crucial role by developing internal waste management strategies, in consultation with staff, as part of overall sustainable development strategies."

Roddy Mann a UNISON member and Area Manager for Fife Council's Environmental Services said "Working in the field of wastes management I see the importance of Public Services setting a good socially responsible example in this area. The management of waste plays a significant role in protecting our environment and conserving scarce natural resources. Our attitude to waste today will determine the legacy we leave for future generations. We must lead by example.

The public sector is currently looking at policies that will reduce its global environmental impact. The Scottish Executive is considering setting targets for public bodies on the specification of recycled material and is preparing a Scottish Sustainable Procurement Action Plan.

UNISON Scotland believes that concerted action by the sector can make a major contribution to reducing Scotland's waste, can set a good example for the private sector and can encourage employees to change their behaviour at home in ways which contribute to sustainable development and safeguard the planet for future generations.

*A Waste Management Charter for Public Sector Organisations

  • Agree an internal waste management and recycling strategy, which also looks at procurement in an overall sustainable development strategy
  • Consult and involve staff on development and implementation of the strategy
  • Ensure it promotes prevention, minimisation and other options from the top of the waste hierarchy, along with internal and external awareness-raising
  • Agree realistic but challenging targets for the strategy, with regular monitoring and evaluation
  • Provide easily accessible, clear information on the organisation's strategy, targets and progress on key indicators
  • Use tools such as the Ecological Footprint in policy development, monitoring progress and raising awareness


Notes to the Editor

1. UNISON Scotland's Briefing on Waste Management is on our website at: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/briefings/wastemanage.html

2. The Ecological Footprint is a tool increasingly used to measure environmental impact. Further information is at: www.scotlands-footprint.com and www.scotlandsfootprint.org

3. Scottish Environment Week 6th to 12th Feb www.scotlink.org/Current_action/env_week_programme2006.php

For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish Secretary) 07771 548 997 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m) Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409 (m)