Official Stats by SEPA show Scotland’s Recycling is Up and Landfill is Down

Friday, October 3, 2014

Official statistics released today by SEPA (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) show that Scotland’s local authorities recycled 42.2% of the household waste they collected in 2013, which is an increase of 0.1% since 2012.

The data also shows that the amount of household waste being generated in the country is continuing to fall, from a recorded 2.6 million tonnes in 2011, to 2.5 million tonnes in 2012 and 2.41 million tonnes in 2013.

Furthermore, Scotland’s landfill disposal rates are also continuing to decrease.  Disposal to landfill was recorded at 58.8% of total household waste in 2011, which fell to 55.3% in 2012 and then again to 53.5% in 2013.

Although these latest figures are encouraging, more than two thirds of Scotland’s councils have still fallen short of meeting the Scottish Government’s waste and recycling targets. 

A target to recycle 50% of household waste by 2013 was set by the Scottish Government in 2010 as part of the country’s wider Zero Waste Agenda.  Under this Plan councils were tasked with recycling, composting or reusing 50% of waste from households by 2013 – a target that will rise to 70% by 2025.    

Only nine of the 32 authorities have actually met or exceeded this target.  The highest performing authority was Clackmannanshire, which reported a recycling rate of 58.9%.  Other authorities to achieve the recycling target of 50% included Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, Perth and Stirling. 

However, at the other end of the scale some authorities reported disappointing recycling rates well below the Government’s target.  This included the Shetland Isles which reported a household recycling rate of just 13.5%, although the authority did still divert 65.4% of its waste from landfill.

Failure to meet these targets will come as no surprise to critics who have deemed them too ambitious and ‘unachievable’, but the Scottish Government has remained upbeat about the improvements that have been made and the prospects of meeting future targets. 

Compared to England and Wales, where average recycling rates of 44.2% and 52.5% respectively were reported in 2013, Scotland is still behind on its local authority recycling rates.  However, the country’s recycling is increasing at a faster rate than in England and it is hoped by many that this momentum will continue.

The official figures from SEPA can be found on their website here

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