Recycling rates rise north of the border

Recycling in Scotland has surged by 5% in just one year, though at 17% the figure still lags a long way behind many of our European neighbours.

Every three months the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) quizzes local authorities on progress made in recycling, composting and waste disposal.

The resulting survey has shown a steady increase over the years, up from just 5.37% in 2001/2002 to the current figure of 17.3%.

The progress shows authorities have every chance of meeting the Scottish Executive’s unambitious target of 25%, though critics will point across the North Sea to the Netherlands and other European leaders in responsible waste disposal, where recycling rates are often over 50%.

Minister for the Environment, Ross Finnie, was optimistic, however.

“I am pleased to see this increase in recycling and composting,” he said.

“In 2003/04, the SEPA figures suggested that, across Scotland, we were recycling and composting around 12% of our waste.

“These latest figures for 2004/05, suggest we are recycling around 17% of our waste. Clearly, we have more to do: we are well on our way to reaching our target of 25%.”

Calum MacDonald, SEPA’s director of environmental and organisational strategy, added: “Since the launch of the National Waste Plan the pace of change in waste management in Scotland has been rapid.

“In two years we have seen recycling rates jump by around 10 percentage points and progress is set to continue.”

By Sam Bond

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