Scotland records accelerated fall in trade waste

Commercial waste arisings are falling at a faster rate than household waste across Scotland according to official figures released yesterday (May 17).

Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) statistics show that over a five-year period between 2006 and 2010, the amount of local authority collected waste, which includes both municipal and commercial, fell by 296,000 tonnes (9%) over this timeframe and now stands at 3.14m tonnes.

In volume terms, household waste fell by 181,000 tonnes while commercial dropped by 110,000 tonnes, but the latter fell at a much faster rate of 27% compared to household at 6%. Meanwhile other non-household waste fell at a rate of 24%.

According to SEPA, the faster fall for commercial waste could be due to a significant reduction in the number of businesses, or the amount of waste generated by these companies. Alternatively local authorities might be collecting or reporting waste from fewer businesses.

The picture is further complicated as many Scottish authorities have to estimate the split between household and commercial waste in mixed collections and where such a split can’t be established, all waste is reported as household.

To address the problem, SEPA is working with councils on a best practice methodology to help achieve more accurate estimates.

Other headline figures from the report showed that the amount of waste recycled by authorities increased by 133,000 tonnes (21%) over the past five years, while the amount of material composted rose by 95,000 tonnes (27%).

Waste sent to landfill meanwhile fell by almost a third (721,000 tonnes) while the total amount of waste generated across the country dropped by 10% (1.92m tonnes), largely due to reductions in industrial waste.

Maxine Perella

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