Less waste landfilled but recycling still low in Scotland

Scotland has published figures showing that recycling rates are improving in the country - but are still well below the European average.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has released its seventh annual Waste Data Digest which gives facts and figures on household and business waste for 2005/06.

Despite improvements in recycling rates, the document also shows a significant increase of over 10% more waste being produced overall.

Much of this increase can be tied to a boom in construction - waste from building and demolition rose from 7.3 million tonnes to 10.6 million.

The total waste reported for 2004/05 was 19 million tonnes compared with almost 22 million tonnes in 2005/206.

Things look better for household waste which saw a modest rise from 2.79 million tonnes to 2.89 million tonnes between the two periods.

Significant improvements in municipal recycling rates, from 17.5% to 24.4%, more than made up for this rise, however.

As recycling rose, so landfill fell.

Bill Proctor, SEPA's Environmental Data Unit manager, said: "The drop in waste landfilled in the last year can be largely explained by a reduction in the amount of waste being sent to landfill by Scottish Local Authorities.

"The Scottish Executive has set strict targets on the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste up to 2020 and the drop reflects the efforts being taken to achieve these targets.

"Although we are seeing a significant drop in the amount of waste being sent to landfill, there is still a great deal of work to be done to ensure these targets are met.

"Much of the progress to date is being achieved through the implementation and delivery of Scotland's National Waste Plan. We are already seeing a municipal recycling rate of almost 25%"

The full Waste Data Digest, and those from previous years, can be viewed on the SEPA website.

David Gibbs




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