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Recycling Improvement Fund

A further nine awards have been made from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund, bringing the total to 16 projects with a total value of around £20m.

Zero Waste Scotland is administering the £70m fund set to transform Scotland’s recycling infrastructure.

Millions to Boost Recycling

The second round of funding for local authority projects, through the Scottish Government’s £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund, has been announced.

An initial seven projects were announced In November, with a further nine now confirmed today (6 December 2021).

These include major service changes in Edinburgh and West Lothian, and new technology which will help tackle contamination and improve efficiency of recycling services in several areas including North Ayrshire.

The total cumulative carbon savings of all projects announced to date is 21,400 tonnes CO2e, the equivalent of taking 11,400 cars off the road.

Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, stated that the government’s intention was to transform recycling in Scotland, delivering one of the biggest investments in recycling in Scotland “in a generation,” adding that it will make it easier for households to recycle more and help to deliver the rates of recycling needed to meet Scotland’s ambitious climate targets.

Iain Gulland Zero Waste Scotland’s CEO welcomed the approval of the funding awards. He said, "These awards represent a major new development in Scotland’s recycling story, with nine more impactful projects from across Scotland which make the most of our resources, boosting recycling and the circular economy. We’ve been impressed by the thinking from councils and look forward to even more transformational projects being brought forward next year.”

Zero Waste Scotland has been impressed by the thinking from councils and looks forward to even more transformational projects being brought forward next year.

The full list of successful projects from the first round of funding is below:

Local Authority Project Funding awarded
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Redesign of collection service to increase the quality of material collected. In addition to this the funding is also for an electric Refuse Collection Vehicle (RCV) for us in town areas. £784,458
Edinburgh Redesign of waste and recycling service to approximately 130,000 households. The project will ensure that recycling and non-recyclable waste containers are co-located on street (majority within 50metres of each block) and there is consistency in the availability of recycling across the city. £7,698,200
West Lothian The proposal includes purchase of bins for all households to align with the code of practice, improvements required for communal collection points and introduction of road end collection to introduce the Twin stream collections and the purchase of Transformative Data Gathering (Using chips within the new twin Stream containers bins: provide the ability to target intervention to areas of poor participation, identifying and assisting vulnerable customers, reduction in missed collections). £4,047,223
Aberdeen City Radio Frequency ID tags for communal bins to help the LA manage location, collection frequency and type of bin. £220,000
Aberdeenshire In cab technology and route optimisation software for the whole fleet (74 vehicles plus spares). £250,000
North Ayrshire In-cab technology for 30 vehicles (targeting contamination and non-participation). £9,067
Midlothian In cab technology for 31 vehicles (monitoring of collections and targeting contamination). £34,100
Dundee In-cab technology for 26 vehicles (contamination and route efficiency). £87,962
Clackmannanshire In-cab technology for 26 vehicles (contamination and route efficiency). £29,688
Aberdeenshire Service change to 3-Weekly Cycle, to align with Scotland’s Charter for Household Recycling. Includes purchase of new bins and recycling containers, and conversation of existing containers £3,439,328
East Lothian Service change, moving to Household Charter aligned weekly recycling service. Includes purchase of vehicles and infrastructure to allow increased collections £2,747,531
Fife Plastic Film Recycling £470,000
Highland Expansion of Green Waste Collections £209,500
Midlothian Extension of Food Waste Collection £132,085
North Ayrshire Household Waste Recycling Centres improvements, including infrastructure to support reuse of furniture and bed mattresses £59,428
South Ayrshire Purchase of on-the-go recycling bins £90,000

More projects are currently being considered for approval in financial year 2020/21. A further announcement on the future process and timetable for new applications to the RIF will be made very shortly.

The Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund, launched on Global Recycling Day, invites applications from all local authorities in Scotland to submit projects to improve services and treatment infrastructure. It also encourages partnership project proposals from local authorities with the private and third sectors.

Local authorities across Scotland are urged to apply to the fund, to help drive new innovations and improvements to recycling in their area and across Scotland.

Net Zero Ambitions

The five-year £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund, part of the Programme for Government, aims to accelerate progress towards Scotland’s ambitious waste and recycling targets and net zero commitment.

It is one of the biggest single investments by the Scottish Government in recycling infrastructure to date.

The fund will be transformational in helping communities move to a more circular economy, where materials and products are kept in use for as long as possible, and where new economic opportunities and social benefits flourish, as we move away from short-term, wasteful, throwaway approaches.

Exciting opportunities

£16 million is available in the first year of the five-year fund.

This will give local authorities the opportunity to take forward small and large-scale projects that increase both the quality and quantity of recycling, whilst delivering wider environmental benefits.

This could include:

  • promoting waste prevention or reuse;
  • improving the consistency of collections;
  • collecting problematic materials such as electrical items;
  • improving sorting and treatment infrastructure;
  • introducing new low-carbon technologies that would deliver wider environmental benefits, or encouraging behaviour change.

The Zero Waste Scotland team are available to discuss potential projects and to support the development of applications for funding.

Background Information

Polling carried out by Zero Waste Scotland in 2021 indicates increased concern for the environment and greater usage of recycling services, since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, according to new research for Zero Waste Scotland.

The results, from 1000 Scots who responded to an online panel survey, show that:

  • Almost half the population (46%) state that they have become more concerned about the environment since the start of the pandemic;
  • Since the start of the pandemic, the vast majority of survey respondents (92%) say they are recycling the same amount, or more than before. This indicates increased usage of recycling services;
  • Women, younger age groups (18-34) people with children and people living in flats or tenements were particularly likely to say they were recycling more;
  • Key stated reasons for recycling more included an increased quantity to recycle (e.g. packaging from deliveries, more food consumed at home) and more time at home.
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