Government figures show that by the end of 2010, only half of Scotland’s 32 local authorities had achieved the 40% figure. The country’s overall recycling and composting rate of 37.8% is below that of Wales (40.5%) and England (39.7%).

Under Scotland’s Zero Waste plan, government targets for household recycling and composting are staggered over the next 14 years, eventually rising to 70% by 2025.

The poor performance has been met with dismay from some quarters of the industry. Environmental group WWF said Scotland must “up its game” if it is to deliver its zero waste ambitions, and warned that efforts to cut the amount of waste landfilled and burned would need to be stepped up.

WWF Scotland’s head of policy, Dr Dan Barlow, said: “It is massively disappointing that the government target has been missed. While it is fantastic that half of Scotland’s local authorities are achieving rates in line with the target, it is shocking that many others are falling a long way short of the 40% commitment.”

Meanwhile Viridor, who has pledged up to £800M to help translate Scottish zero waste policy into practice by investing in much-needed infrastructure, said the figures were “a wake-up call” for the industry.

Viridor’s communications manager, Martin Grey, said: “We need to accelerate public procurements of vital infrastructure to target household waste and recognise the need for additional capacity as we focus on business waste.

“This isn’t about incineration but a mix of modern, proven technologies to drive up recycling and recover energy from what’s left.”

Maxine Perella

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