Recycling Sorter tool created to help end confusion over waste and bins across Scotland

A new Recycling Sorter tool has been created in a bid to end confusion over what can and cannot be recycled in each part of Scotland and reduce the amount of waste being needlessly binned in landfill.

The digital resource, the first of its kind, has been created by Zero Waste Scotland and provides information for all 32 local authorities across the country.

It’s hoped the facility will be of particular benefit to ‘wish-cyclers’, the people who are genuinely committed to cutting waste and recycling as much as possible but who don’t always get it right due to uncertainty or misunderstanding the rules.

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Research shows a third of people are confused about what goes in which bin, with only one in eight saying they are absolutely confident they’re recycling correctly.

The new Recycling Sorter has been created to help boost knowledge and clear up confusion when disposing of waste, with the aim of increasing overall recycling performance across Scotland

Analysis of rubbish shows around two thirds of items thrown in general bins could have been recycled.

The aim of the Recycling Sorter is to increase Scottish householders’ familiarity with their local recycling provisions, tackling confusion, upping recycling rates and reducing contamination of waste collections.

But it will also help advise those who live, work and travel in different council regions in Scotland, where facilities may differ from those found in their home area.

Claire Munro from Zero Waste Scotland says we need to “upskill” the nation’s recycling abilities, which in turn will improve local authority performance and raise the national recycling rate.

She believes the Recycling Sorter will help improve both the quantity and the quality of waste collected, reducing the amount that has to be landfilled.

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Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, added: “We know there’s confusion out there surrounding recycling different materials and products at home.

“The Recycling Sorter takes people back to basics and cuts through confusion.

“The user-friendly tool will inform people of what items can and can't be recycled and how to prepare items for recycling – such as wash, squash, sort – and includes hints and tips to make it easier at home.”

Scotland has an ambitious target to recycle 70 per cent of household waste by 2025 but the most recent figures show overall recycling rates dropped in 2018 to 44.7 per cent – down from the 45.5 per cent rate achieved in 2016.

“The national recycling rate is not going in the right direction fast enough and we need to act now to transform our national recycling performance,” Mr Gulland said.

“Research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland revealed that nearly half the population could definitely increase the amount of recycling they do.”

Although the latest statistics have not yet been published, it’s thought that recycling behaviour has improved during the Covid pandemic.

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