Official Statistics released by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that Scotland’s local authorities recycled 42.2% of the household waste they collected in 2013, up by one percentage point from its 2012 results.
In addition, household waste generated in the country continues to fall, from 2.6m tonnes in 2011, to 2.5m tonnes in 2012 and a low of 2.41m tonnes in 2013; and was disposed of to landfill also continues to decrease, from 55.8 percent in 2011 and 55.3 percent in 2012, to 53.5 percent in 2013.
Scotland does, of course, have a 50 percent recycling target as part its zero waste agenda, but only nine of the 32 authorities reached that level. The highest performing authority with a 58.9 percent recycling rate was Clackmannanshire, while East renfrewshire, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, Moray, North Ayrshire, Perth & Kinross, and Stirling also reached 50 percent.
At the other end of the scale, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee City, Eilean Siar, Glasgow City and the Orkney Islands all fell below 30 percent, with the Shetland Islands recording a household recycling rate of just 13.5 percent, while only 22.4 percent was landfilled, with 65.4 percent diverted from landfill.
Environment Minister, Richard Lochhead, said: “It’s good to see nine local authorities exceeding 50 per cent recycling, and I also want to congratulate those who have made significant improvements on their 2012 performance. These local authorities are showing what can be achieved and are a good example to the others who still have more work to do. The Scottish Government makes no apologies for being ambitious in this area. It’s important that the targets we set should be genuinely challenging and we expect all council areas to show willingness to prioritise recycling.
“In the long run we still have one of the most enviable improvements in recycling rates in Europe. Whilst the improvement in the recycling rate is not at the level we would like it is still a positive achievement that we are continuing to make progress.
“I expect the results from councils around the country to improve further next year, as there are a number of measures we have put in place which we will not see the impact of until next year’s statistics, including our landmark waste regulations which require councils to provide recycling services to all households; as well as the food waste collections now being rolled out across Scotland. In addition we are taking wider action to cut litter and waste such as the introduction of carrier bag charges from October 20th this year. Whilst carrier bags are only a small percentage of waste it is one more initiative which can help make a difference.
“I will be convening a further meeting of the Zero Waste Taskforce to help councils to create local economic opportunities while ensuring local delivery against national recycling targets and if more progress is not made I am not ruling out statutory targets in future.”
CIWM chief executive Steve Lee added: “The figures show that Scotland has continued to make progress on recycling and the new regulations that came into force at the beginning of this year should provide additional momentum. The target to recycle 50% by 2013 was extremely ambitious, particularly in light of the fact that recycling is stalling in some other parts of the UK. The important thing is that the Scottish Government has put in place a very clear framework and targeted support to help local authorities, and these measures will help to support greater recycling in the future.”
For the full statistics, click here