Third of Scottish councils break 50% recycling barrier

Over a third of Scottish councils are recycling over 50% of the household waste they collect, as the national average rate hits 43.6%, according to figures from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

The data, which was taken from April 2011 and June 2011, showed that 12 out of 32 local authorities in Scotland recycled more than 50% of the waste collected during this quarter.

This is the first data set to use the updated recycling rate calculation required by the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan. The recycling rate now refers to ‘household waste’ and not ‘local authority collected municipal solid waste’, aligning it with Scottish, UK and European targets.

The data also implements new guidance on what can contribute to household waste recycling, concentrating on high quality recycling of materials. As a result, it reflects the recycling of paper, plastic, food and other materials into new products, in line with the Scottish ambition for high levels of closed loop recycling.

A number of activities no longer count towards local authority household recycling rates. For example, using the bottom ash from incineration in construction products such as aggregate and road beds.

Additionally, the low quality compost-like material that results from the treatment of mixed waste is not counted in the recycling and composting figures. SEPA is also working with councils to improve the accuracy of household waste reporting where it is collected and mixed with commercial waste.

Maxine Perella

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