Scotland’s recycling hits 44%

313,258 tonnes tonnes of rubbish were recycled in Scotland in just three months (Picture by Tomasz Sienicki)

FIGURES released today by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that more is being recycled in Scotland than ever before.

Between April and June this year, 719,204 tonnes of household waste was created, of which 43.6%, or 313,258 tonnes, was were recycled or composted.

This latest set of figures coincide with a new and improved method of collecting and presentingScotland’s household recycling performance. Through the new system, households will be able to easily see the true worth of their welcome efforts.

The new definition excludes non-domestic properties which were previously counted, and is now aligned to the waste hierarchy. Categories now include recovery, recycling/composting and landfill. The previous methodology looking at municipal solid waste would still show a rise in this quarter, at 39.1 per cent.


Welcoming the increase to recycling and the new system Environment Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Today’s recycling statistics is a credit to Scottish households and local authorities and they should be proud of their efforts. It’s an excellent achievement to reach nearly 44%  nation-wide and proof that the zero waste agenda is gaining real momentum.

“I welcome the new system for calculating our recycling performance as it shows exactly what Scotland’s households are accomplishing every day.

“It also brings us in line with how the EU calculates recycling so we can compare our performance in an international arena. SEPA has published the new stats based on the new and previous reporting methods, and while there might be some movement in local authorities results, this is a vital step in understanding the important role households play in Scotland’s zero waste journey.”

Cllr Hay COSLA Spokesperson for Regeneration and Sustainable Development said:  “The figures released by SEPA today demonstrate that Scottish councils are committed to achieving the zero waste vision that we share with the Scottish government. The way SEPA measure recycling has changed, so we should not judge councils for moving up or down the table.

“It is a fabulous job up until now, however with reducing council budgets it will increase the pressure to be able continue this direction and pace of travel. COSLA welcome the publication, as the new figures provide a more complete story of what happens to household waste and valuable resources. Councils are leading the zero waste agenda and continually improving services to make it simple for householders to recycle more materials.”