The Scottish recycling rate fell in 2017, according to SEPA statistics

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has released its official waste statistics which shows that the Scottish recycling rate fell in 2017.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has released its official waste statistics which shows that the Scottish recycling rate fell in 2017.  

These statistics provide details of waste from households, construction and demolition, and commerce and industry.  


SEPA’s statistics show that the total amount of waste produced in 2017 increased by 5.5%, and although 142,195 more tonnes of waste was recycled in 2017, the national recycling rate was 58.9%, a decrease of 0.2% from 2016 (59.1%).  

The quantity of biodegradable municipal waste being sent to landfill fell again with 1.09 million tonnes going to landfill in 2017, compared to the 2016 figure of 1.14 million tonnes.  

Other findings include: 

  • Scottish waste landfilled accounted for 32.6% of all waste managed, an increase of 0.1% from 2016.  
  • The Scottish organic waste recycled by composting or anaerobic digestion has increased by 4.6% since 2016 
  • Waste diverted from landfill through incineration with energy recovery has increased by 14.7% from 2016.  

SEPA chief executive Terry A’Hearn said: “The scale of the environmental challenge is enormous and we know that in Scotland we currently use the resources of three planets, but only have one.  The most successful countries in the 21st century will be resource efficient, circular economies, where what once was waste is valued as a resource.  As such, the latest figures give communities and businesses a fresh focus for the opportunity ahead.” 

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