Scotland’s Household Recycling Up, Waste To Landfill Down, For 2016

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published its official statistics for the volumes of household waste collected across all local authorities and, for the first time, it also includes the amount of waste landfilled and waste incinerated in Scotland during 2016.

The statistics show that for the 2016 calendar year, the household waste recycling rate was 45.2%, an increase of 1.0 percentage points from the 44.2% achieved in 2015.

The total quantity of household waste generated in Scotland was 2.50m tonnes in 2016, however, which is an increase of 30,000 tonnes (1.2%) since 2015; while there was a 19,000 tonne (1.6%) decrease in household waste disposed to landfill. The decrease in waste being sent to landfill is a combination of increased recycling and an increase in incineration of household waste.

In terms of individual performance, East Renfrewshire was the only authority to break the 60 percent recycling barrier, at 60.8%, recycling more than 29,000 of its 47,724 tonnes of waste generated.

Dundee City landfilled just 6.8% if its generated waste, with almost 60% being classed as “diverted from landfill” and circa 30% being recycled.

The inaugural “waste to landfill” and “waste incinerated” figures show that the total waste landfilled in Scotland, not just that from households, in 2016 was 3.72m tonnes, an impressive decrease of 465,000 tonnes (11.1%) from 2015, and it adds that this is consistent with a decreasing trend of waste disposed to landfill over the past decade.

The total quantity of waste incinerated in Scotland in 2016 was 683,000 tonnes – an increase of 28,000 tonnes (4.3%) from 2015, and an increase of 273,000 tonnes (66.6%) from its 2011 figures.

Data on waste are collected to monitor policy effectiveness, and to support policy development, particularly commitments in the Scottish Government’s Making Things Last – A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland. Further details on the methodology used to produce the figures are provided in the “Household waste” section of the annual Waste Data Quality Reports.

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