Recycling At Home Helps Fight Climate Change, ZWS Report Reveals

Recycling at home and tackling food waste are key actions Scots can take in the fight against climate change, a new report released today by Zero Waste Scotland reveals.

Released ahead of the Scottish Resources Conference which takes place on 27/28 September, the report shows that the huge progress the country has made on recycling and diverting waste from landfill in recent years has helped cut carbon emissions from waste by one quarter between 2011 and 2015.

The ground-breaking Carbon Metric, an innovative tool developed by Zero Waste Scotland, shows how waste reduction and sustainable waste management can play a critical role in the fight against climate change. It is a pioneering way to measure the carbon impact of our waste, not just the amount that is recycled.

The latest results, for 2014/15, reveal that:

  • Household waste accounts for less than 25% of all Scottish waste. However, in 2015, Household waste accounted for 57% of the total carbon impacts of Scotland’s waste, 9% more than it did in 2011.
  • The five most carbon intensive waste materials make up just 6% of Scotland’s waste by weight, but nearly a third of associated carbon impacts.
  • Food waste is the most carbon intensive waste material, generating 15% of carbon impacts in 2014, and 17% in 2015
  • Textile waste is also high impact, accounting for just 0.2% of waste, but 4% of waste impacts in 2014, and 0.3% of waste, but 5% of waste impacts in 2015.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Our ground-breaking carbon metric shows that recycling continues to have an important part to play in the fight against climate change.  If Scottish households recycled just 10% more of their waste, we would save over 148,000 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent of over 22,000 flights around the world.”

“This should be a tonic to those who do all they can to reduce and recycle waste and it should encourage others to strive for more. Reducing or recycling food waste and re-using our old clothes are simple actions that have a big environmental benefit.  It’s important during national Recycle Week that we all take the chance to see what more we can do.”

To download the full report, click here


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