Scotland’s municipal waste recycling rate continues to rise
23 November 2009
Scotland achieved a 35.2% municipal recycling and composting rate for the year ending June 2009 representing a 3% increase for the same period in 2007/08, according to the latest quarterly figures published by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency on Friday (November 20).
These pictures paint a very encouraging picture as we approach our ambitious target of recycling 40% of our municipal waste by the end of 2010
Richard Lochhead, Scottish environment secretary
However, with Scotland still behind both England and Wales, both SEPA and environment minister Richard Lochhead have both called for more to be done to reach Scotland's long-term recycling goals.
Provisional data submitted to the waste database WasteDataFlow system showed that recycling and composting rates for April to June 2009 - the first quarter of 2009/10 - increased to 38.7% (1,147,623 tonnes) from 35.4% for the same quarter last year.
This equates to an overall recycling rate of 35.2% in the context of entire rolling year of July 2008 to June 2009, which eliminates seasonal factors.
The progress was welcomed by the Scottish Government, which has set itself the ambitious target of a 40% municipal and recycling rate by the end of 2010 under its Zero Waste agenda.
Environment secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: "These pictures paint a very encouraging picture as we approach our ambitious target of recycling 40% of our municipal waste by the end of 2010. Now is the time for a united push to get us over the line to look ahead to our future targets."
Under the Zero Waste policy, Scotland also intends to recycle or compost 50% by 2013, 60% by 2020 and 70% by 2025, with all the targets relating to calendar years.
According to the SEPA figures, Scotland produced 3,264,273 tonnes of municipal waste between July 2008 and June 2009 of which 1,147,623 tonnes was recycled or composted. Out of the remainder, 2,029,479 tonnes was sent to landfill and 87,171 tonnes was incinerated.
The figures indicate that Scotland is well within its 2010 Landfill Allowances, with 1.22 million tonnes of municipal biodegradable waste being sent to landfill compared to its 2009/10 limit of 1.32 million tonnes.
Kenny Boag, national waste policy unit manager at SEPA, said: "It is very encouraging to see Scotland's municipal waste recycling rate continue to rise and the signs are good in that it looks like we will meet our immediate targets.
"However, even greater challenges lie ahead and we must all accept that this will require new and additional services, facilities and most importantly, change to our lifestyles so we may further reduce, reuse and recycle our waste in Scotland."
The SEPA figures also indicated that progress had been made on reducing waste arising. Municipal waste arisings for the rolling-year were 3.26 million tonnes compared to 3.4 million tonnes for the same period in the previous year.
Moray council was revealed to be the best performing council with a 44.8% recycling and composting rate. Elsewhere, Clackmannanshire, which is the smallest council area in mainland Scotland, continued to perform well with a 44.5% recycling and composting rate.
At the other end of the table, Glasgow city council (20%), Eilean Siar (21.6%) and Shetland Islands council (22%) all showed slight improvement from the previous rolling year.