More than 60 per cent of waste recycled in Scottish first

Recycling in Scotland has reached a new high, with more than three fifths of all waste collected re-used in some form.

Galashiels Community Waste Recycling Centre. More than 60 per cent of all waste is now being recycled in Scotland
Galashiels Community Waste Recycling Centre. More than 60 per cent of all waste is now being recycled in Scotland

A total of 6.96 million tonnes of waste – 61 per cent of all rubbish collected – was either recycled, composted or prepared for re-use.

It marks the first time the recycling rate has risen above 60 per cent, with Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham saying the increase showed “progress”.

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The figures were provided by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).

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The Scottish Government has set a target of having 70 per cent of all waste recycled by 2025, with just 5 per cent of rubbish sent to landfill by this date.

Scotland produced a total of 10.79 million tonnes of waste from all sources in 2016 – a drop of 0.53 million tonnes from 2015.

The latest figures show 3.8 million tonnes of rubbish was either sent to landfill or incinerated, a reduction of 463,397 (10.8 per cent) from the previous year.

Just under a third (32.5 per cent) of all waste went to to landfill – the lowest rate recorded over the period 2011 to 2016.

Ms Cunningham said: “I’m pleased to see that the amount of Scottish waste being collected in Scotland has decreased.

“For the first time we’ve recycled more than 60 per cent of our waste from all sources, which shows we are making progress towards our 2025 target of 70 per cent and our work to promote and simplify recycling is paying off.”

Sepa chief executive Terry A’Hearn said: “Recycling is a real Scottish success story and a simple daily step that communities, corner shops or corporates can take to build a more sustainable Scotland.

“The scale of the environmental challenge is enormous and we know we live on one planet, but consume the resources of three.

“The most successful countries in the 21st century will be resource efficient, circular economies, where what once was waste is valued as a resource.

“We are committed to helping all regulated businesses do more to support waste prevention and facilitate the use of secondary resources in the economy, helping communities and businesses thrive within the resources of our planet.”