Falkirk Council Trading Standards has introduced an innovative new scheme to reuse and recycle confiscated items – and the initiative has won praise in the Scottish Parliament.
Under the scheme, counterfeit clothes seized by the service are rebadged and distributed to a national charity, rubber from fake trainers is reused to make children’s playground equipment, and unsafe electrical items are recycled.
Kirstie Crosson, Falkirk Council Trading Standards Co-ordinator, explained: “These goods do not comply with legislation for several reasons, and in some cases, pose a real danger to children.
“Getting them off the streets is our first concern as well as their environmentally safe disposal. We used to simply destroy them and take them to disposal sites. However, increasing costs and concerns for the environment made us look elsewhere at what we could do.”
Conservative MSP Maurice Golden has highlighted the scheme in the Scottish Parliament, and asked whether the Scottish Government plans to ensure that all seized goods are recycled rather than incinerated or sent to landfill.
Government minister Lorna Slater replied that guidelines already exist to deal with seized items, but added: “I welcome the initiative shown by Falkirk Council and the local Trading Standards Scotland team in finding alternative destinations for seized counterfeit and illegal goods, to prevent them becoming waste. I would encourage others to follow this example.”
Counterfeit clothing, electrical items, jewellery, cosmetics, toys, vapes and tobacco are among the items that have been seized and collected by Falkirk’s Trading Standards Team recently, and which are now heading for recycling or safe disposal.
The team has worked with other local authorities across Scotland through national intelligence-sharing operations. These have included monitoring local online selling groups as well as seizures of items at locations such as Grangemouth Docks.
Richard Thomson, Senior Trading Standards Officer at Falkirk Council said: “We have recently worked with other local authorities in Scotland who had seized similar products.
“Previously these would have headed straight to a secure landfill that costs us and other local authorities a lot of money but instead, we worked with a national charity that can remove many of the trademarks and then redistribute them across the country for use by children and young people.
“So, items such as sports tops and joggers can finish up being reused; tobacco reused as garden mulch and rubber from trainer soles for materials used in children’s playgrounds.
“As a result, many get a real benefit from the reuse and recycling of the products that have been made safe and can no longer make criminals illegal earnings or pose a danger to the public.”