Scottish Government recycling targets missed

Councils across Scotland recycled 42 per cent of the household waste they collected last year, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). Picture: Ian Georgeson
Councils across Scotland recycled 42 per cent of the household waste they collected last year, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT target to recycle or compost half of all household waste by 2013 has been missed, new figures show.

Councils across Scotland recycled 42 per cent of the household waste they collected last year, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

The figure is a slight increase from 2012, when 41 per cent of household waste was recycled, and up 10 percentage points since 2007.

Only nine of Scotland’s 32 local authorities met the 50 per cent target, with Clackmannanshire the best performing at 60 per cent, followed by East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Fife (all 56 per cent).

The worst-performing councils were Shetland (12 per cent), Dumfries and Galloway (24 per cent) and Glasgow City (27 per cent).

The figures show the amount of waste homes are generating has fallen from three million tonnes in 2007 to 2.5 million tonnes in 2012 and 2.41 million tonnes last year.

The amount of waste being sent to landfill also decreased from 55.3 per cent in 2012 to 53.5 per cent.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead insisted progress was being made but said councils must do more to increase recycling levels.

He said: “In the long run we still have one of the most enviable improvements in recycling rates in Europe: from less than 5 per cent prior to the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, to 42.2 per cent in 2013.

“Whilst the improvement in the recycling rate is not at the level we would like, it is still a positive achievement that we are continuing to make progress and, importantly, I am pleased to see the reduction of 88,000 tonnes in the waste we are generating.

“I expect the larger local authorities, and indeed all local authorities, to rise to the challenge of achieving the target via compliance with the regulations, innovation and collaboration. This will be key in improving our national performance.”

Mr Lochhead said that recently-introduced waste regulations should begin to impact on the recycling figures from next year and highlighted other actions to cut waste such as the roll-out of food waste collections across Scotland and the introduction of carrier-bag charges from October 20.

He added: “I will be convening a further meeting of the Zero Waste Taskforce to help councils to create local economic opportunities while ensuring local delivery against national recycling targets, and if more progress is not made I am not ruling out statutory targets in future.”