Scotland records all-time high recycling rate



Scotland generated 10.16 million tonnes of waste and recycled 62.3% in 2022, which is the highest recycling rate recorded since the start of the current series in 2011.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published the Scottish Waste From All Sources 2022 Official Statistics, which provide details on waste from Scottish households, businesses and public services.

The recycling rate increased by 5.3% in 2022 from the 57.0% rate in 2021. SEPA said this reflected economic recovery from the pandemic and an increase in the proportion of construction and demolition material recycled.

The figures also showed only 23.2% of all wastes were disposed of in landfill, which works out to 2.30 million tonnes, an all-time low. While Energy from Waste (EfW) use increased by 8.3%.

The fact that Scots are recycling more than ever before is great news, with our highest recycling rate on record.

Commenting on the statistics, Vicki White, Head of Materials at SEPA, said: “The fact that Scots are recycling more than ever before is great news, with our highest recycling rate on record.

“The latest data not only shows we’re recycling more and landfilling less but also that Scottish businesses are continuing to respond to consumers who are continuing to call for less waste and greater resource efficiency. 

“Whilst it’s clear there’s more to do, this latest data is both encouraging and a key milestone in our journey to a more resource-efficient, net zero economy.”

SEPA said the construction sector has been supported through investment from businesses such as Scottish recycler Brewster Brothers. The company, based in Livingston, won the Scottish government and SEPA-backed Scottish Vision in Business Awards Scotland (VIBES) Circular Scotland Award in 2023. 

Brewster Brothers, which takes construction, demolition and excavation waste from the construction sector and recycles it before selling it back to the construction industry, has invested in new capacity to meet market demand for high-quality recycled aggregate products with assistance from Scottish Enterprise’s Green Jobs Fund, SEPA said.

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