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Household Waste Data 2014

SEPA has published its Household Waste Data statistics 2014, published annually and which show household waste data generated and managed by or on behalf of local authorities in Scotland.

The data is used to track progress against Scotland’s ambitious recycling targets, of recycling 70% of household waste by 2025.

For the first time, Scotland has sent less than half of its waste to landfill. The quantity of household waste landfilled has fallen by 16.6% since 2011 and was 1.2 million tonnes in 2014, while Scotland’s recycling rate continues to improve – reaching 42.8 per cent in 2014.

The total quantity of household waste generated in Scotland was 2.5 million tonnes in 2014, an increase of 1.9% since 2013. However, household waste generation has been decreasing over the last few years and has reduced by 5.6% since 2011, a reduction of 147,103 tonnes, or 18 per cent since 2007.

Other positive news revealed that food waste being recycled has more than doubled between 2011 and 2014 and tonnages of plastics being recycled are climbing steadily year-on-year.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead hailed the landfill figures as a ‘significant milestone’ but made clear that further improvements are needed from councils to meet recycling targets.

Mr Lochhead said:

“For the first time, Scotland has sent less than half of its household waste to landfill - a significant milestone as we journey to becoming a zero waste nation. In 2007, almost two thirds of Scotland’s household waste ended up in landfill so today’s figures are great news for the environment and highlight the progress being made.

“The 12 of Scotland’s 32 councils that have met or exceeded 50 per cent recycling, and those that have substantially improved their performance, are to be congratulated. They have set a benchmark and other authorities must now follow that lead.

“The Household Recycling Charter the Scottish Government is working with local authorities to develop should help achieve this. Bringing in consistent practices across Scotland should also make it easier and less confusing for people to recycle potentially valuable materials including paper, card, glass, plastics and food waste.

“We are also consulting on how best to make the most of valuable materials by creating a more circular economy.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“It’s great that our national recycling rate continues to rise and that our reliance on landfill is at an all-time low. The amount of food waste being recycled has doubled since 2011, showing that many householders have embraced the addition of food waste recycling to their collection services. Over 60 per cent of households now have access to food waste recycling, thanks to our Food Waste Programme which supported local authorities to make the changes.

“While the trends show that a change in mind set is taking hold, and we are recognising that material we once thought of as waste has value as a resource which can create economic opportunity for Scotland, there’s still more to be done. Sustaining our good recycling habits, and encouraging others to take them up, is a commitment we can all easily make, with high rewards waiting for Scotland – both economically and environmentally – if we do.”

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