Scotland beats recycling targets

Figures published this week show that, as a group, Scottish local authorities exceeded their recycling targets for 2007/08 but they have been warned against resting on their laurels.

The country’s councils recycled or composted 32% of the waste they collected, against a target of 30%.

Slightly over half of this (56%) came from recycling while the rest was composting.

The figures are the result of a survey of all 31 waste collection authorities carried out by Remade Scotland and suggest that municipal collection is on track north of the border.

But the Scottish government has set challenging new goals in the drive towards zero waste to landfill, and insists that it is vital to continue to optimise the recovery of recyclable materials.

While the statistics themselves are interesting, the trends that showed which strategies led to higher collection rates are perhaps more so.

Controversially, the survey showed that the more often recycling was collected, the higher the overall rate tended to be.

Those authorities that collected recycling more than once a fortnight averaged a recovery rate 47% higher than fortnightly collections and 115% higher than those that made collections once every four weeks.

Bin capacity was also a major factor, with residents given recycling bins over 100 litres recycling 69% more of their waste than those who had bins smaller than 50 litres.

Tying in collection days with those of residual waste also led to an increase as it cut out confusion over when to put out what waste and increasing the range of materials that would be considered for recycling also inevitably led to a rise in recycling.

The pdf of the full report can be found on the Remade website here.

Sam Bond

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