Resource Use

Almost half of Scottish households recycle food waste

Almost half of all households in Scotland now have a food waste collection and recycling service, new figures have shown.

Of the estimated 2.4 million households in Scotland, 1.0 million now have a food waste collection service, according to Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS). Almost a quarter of these (470,000) have seen their food waste service started in the past year.

The rise in food waste collection services has been attributed to the fact that ZWS has invested £20 million to help council introduce collections of food waste since 2010. The investment forms part of the Scottish Government’s plans to increase recycling and move towards ‘zero waste’ (to landfill). As part of these plans, the Scottish Government has also implemented new Waste (Scotland) Regulations, which come into force in January 2014 and mandate that all councils must provide households (except those in ‘rural areas’) with separate food waste collections.

Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, has said that the impact of the £20 million investment in food waste collections will be ‘seen in next year’s figures’.

Over half of local authorities miss recycling target

Image: Discover Data

The food waste figures come alongside the release of national recycling figures for 2012, which found that between January and December 2012, local authorities in Scotland recycled 41.2 per cent of household waste, just 1.1 per cent more than the year before.

According to the statistics, over half of all Scottish local authorities missed the recycling target of recycling 50 per cent, with just nine of the 32 councils surpassing the half way mark.

Overall, the total volume of Scotland’s municipal waste was reduced by 105,826 tonnes from the 2011 total of 2.6 million tonnes.

In a bid to boost recycling rates, ZWS has recently invested £2 million in trials of recycling schemes (such as ‘Recycle and Reward’ and ‘Recycle on the Go’) and installed almost 3,000 new recycling points in the last year.

Director of Zero Waste Scotland, Iain Gulland, said: “The progress on recycling last year shows a clear continued commitment to working towards zero waste in Scotland.

“Recycling at home is one simple way to make sure we can get value from the resources we use and make sure we’re not throwing away money and job opportunities.

“We are also working hard to increase recycling from businesses with new waste regulations coming into force in January, working towards the Scottish Government’s target for 70 per cent recycling of all waste in Scotland by 2025.”

As well as the recycling figures, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has now launched a new 'Discover Data' website that depicts waste arisings in the 32 local authority areas, and details waste type, waste management type (i.e. recycling, recovery, disposal), and an overview of Scottish household waste totals since 2004.

Read more about Scotland’s recycling rates for 2012.