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Pieraccini put circular economy policy into practice, says Viridor

24th July 2017

Scotland’s leading recycling, resource and renewable energy partner, Viridor, today recognised the contribution of the outgoing Head of Zero Waste at Scottish Government.

Gabby Pieraccini, Head of Zero Waste at Scottish Government, has announced she is moving on after three years in the prominent civil service role to take a new position in the Scottish Government’s Brexit unit. Pieraccini has been central to Scotland setting world-leading policy on sustainability, resource efficiency, and the circular economy.

Viridor, which works with 96% of Scottish local authorities, is currently investing £500m in Scottish low carbon infrastructure. Under Pieraccini, Scotland’s waste policy has recognised that a circular economy is vital from a sustainability standpoint, addresses resource security, and boosts the nation’s economy.

Viridor’s glass recycling facility at Newhouse, North Lanarkshire is an example of what is possible when the Scottish Government, SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish whisky sector, councils, and corporates work together. The facility – acknowledged as the UK’s most advanced glass recycling plant, and one of only three world-wide – is helping drive Scotland’s circular economy by reducing reliance on imported materials, boosting the sustainability of Scotland’s largest export – Scotch whisky.

Martin Grey, Head of Public Affairs at Viridor, said: Not only did Gabby help transform Scottish circular economy policy, she was at the forefront of putting policy into practice. She helped Scotland punch above its weight at home and on the world stage by mastering her brief, rolling up her sleeves and getting out to sites, and recognising that this was not only an environmental obligation, but an economic opportunity for Scotland.  We’re sorry to see her moving on but wish her all the best in her new role.”

 In the past three years, Scotland has introduced a raft of trailblazing policies and regulations to drive investment in low-carbon infrastructure. The Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy sits alongside an Economic Strategy and Manufacturing Action Plan, both of which have circular economic principles at their heart.

Reflecting Viridor’s calls for aggregation, consistent collections and material quality, the Scottish Household Charter was introduced in 2015, which aims to standardise waste collections across Scotland’s 32 local authorities. This is supported increased transparency on the quality of materials collected by councils across Scotland, delivered through the Material Recycling Facility (MRF) Code of Practice. The Scottish Materials Brokerage Service has provided greater certainty of supply and demand, described by the Zero Waste Scotland NGO as a way for local authorities to “get a better deal for the recycled materials collected in their communities”.

The Scottish Government’s world-leading reforms have enabled investments such as Viridor’s £154 million Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre (GRREC) being built at Polmadie, which will boost recycling in Scotland’s largest city whilst diverting some 90% of green bin residual waste away from landfill, saving millions of pounds. The facility transforms waste into heat and power, producing enough energy to power the equivalent of 22,000 households and heat some 8,000 homes.

Meanwhile at Dunbar, East Lothian, the firm’s £177 million Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), also under construction, will divert residual waste from landfill, generating some 30MW of base-load renewable energy direct to the grid – the equivalent of 30 wind turbines, and enough to power 39,000 homes.

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