Scottish recycling, composting and reuse of waste reaches 60% milestone


New research from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has found that Scottish recycling, composting and reuse of waste has passed its 60% milestone.  

The data found that in 2016, 6.96 million tonnes (61%) of waste was recycled, composted or prepared for reuse, which is over half a million tonnes more than in 2015.  


More households and businesses recycled food waste during 2016, as 605,614 tonnes of organic waste was recycled in composting or anaerobic digestion facilities, an increase of 20.4% from 2015. 

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The data also found that the total waste produced in Scotland fell by over half a million tonnes since 2015, with the country achieving the lowest quantity of waste being landfilled since 2011 (10.3% decrease from 2015).  

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.”

Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Iain Gulland said: “These figures show some really positive progress towards a more circular economy – a big increase in recycling and reuse, more food waste being recycled, less waste going to landfill, and especially less climate-harming biodegradable waste. This has been achieved with hard work from local authorities and others, as well as the growing understanding of the importance of recycling and waste reduction in homes and businesses.” 

Scotland has set a 70% recycling target by 2025.  

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