Map shows best and worst recyclers in Scotland

Research shows areas where Scotland falling short on green targets

Thonton UK Sep 23 2015;  Bin collections in fife credit: Steven Scott Taylor
Thonton UK Sep 23 2015; Bin collections in fife credit: Steven Scott Taylor

The best and worst recyclers in Scotland have been revealed in a map which documents why the country is not hitting its green waste targets.

Scots throw away 2.5m tonnes of rubbish every year with major work ongoing to get it disposed of in the least harmful way possible.

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The Scottish Government wanted 50% of household waste in Scotland to be recycled, composted or prepared for re-use by 2013.

Recycling rates (%) across Scotland by council area in 2014. Map by SEPA.
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However, latest figures published by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that the rate still stood at 42.8 per cent in 2014.

The best recyclers live in Inverclyde where 56.8 per cent of all waste is recycled. This is followed by Perth and Kinross then North Ayrshire, where 56.5 per cent of rubbish was reused in some way.

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These figures include how much food waste is now composted.

People in Shetland Isles recycle the least with just 9 per cent of rubbish recycled. A 17 per cent recycling rate was recorded on Orkney.

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However, the figures tell just part of the story. Around 70 per cent of waste in Shetland is sent to an incinerator north of Lerwick, which also handles rubbish from Orkney.

Transport costs are deemed to high to send rubbish from the islands to the mainland to be recycled.

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Only ash from the incinerator goes to landfill, with the heat from the process warming water for around 1,200 hundred homes in Lerwick - as well as the public swimming pool in the town.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow City, just 25% of rubbish is recycled.

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Scotland’s largest city produces around 225,000 tonnes of waste a year and continues to send around 76 per cent of it to landfill sites - by far the highest rate in Scotland.

However, a recycling and renewable energy centre is due to open next year, with its green credentials expected to improve dramatically as a result.

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A spokesman said: “Recycling has always been a challenge for Glasgow, largely due to the nature of its housing stock, but recent improvements in our services are having a positive impact.

“For example, we have dramatically increased the number of recycling collections in the city with the introduction of managed weekly collections – and also the range of materials we collect.

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“The way the city deals with its waste will be further transformed with the completion of a major recycling and renewable energy facility currently being developed with Viridor; which will significantly increase the percentage of Glasgow’s waste is recycled and end its reliance on landfill.”

This week, leader at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities in Scotland (COSLA) recommended that councils sign up to the Household Recycling Charter to develop more consistent recycling opportunities across the country.

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A COSLA spokesman said: “The Charter will make it easier for people to recycle at home, helping to create the large volumes of high quality materials suitable for recycling that can stimulate the emergence of new industries and so create jobs and economic development.”