An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland

date30 July 2012

Household waste - October to December 2011 - published 30 July 2012 Official Statistics released today by statisticians at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that Scotland's local authorities recycled 36.7% of the household waste they collected in the three months between October and December 2011.

Problem with ShowGallery

The figures show a 7% reduction from the previous quarter (43.8%) for the whole of Scotland. This trend is repeated across 31 of Scotland's 32 local authorities, primarily down to seasonal variation in the quantity of organic waste arisings. However, 15 local authorities still achieved a household waste recycling rate above 40%, and two achieved over 50%. 

There was also a decrease in waste arisings from the previous quarter (about 12,391 tonnes), which resulted in a drop of approximately 24,000 tonnes going to landfill.

Data for every one of Scotland's 32 local authorities are available on SEPA's website along with the figures for the whole of Scotland - but is now aggregated for the whole of 2011.

This is the third data set to use the updated recycling rate calculation required by the Scottish Government's Zero Waste Plan.

The new definition of household waste and clarification of what counts and what does not count towards the recycling rate is available in the Zero Waste Plan – guidance for local authorities, published in March 2011.

To add clarity and transparency to the data during the transition from the old guidance to the new, SEPA has also made available the recycling rate calculated according to the old guidance. These figures are for comparison only and are included to show Scotland's continued recycling effort.


  2011 2010
September - December % 37.9 34.0
Full year % 40.7 37.8


The change of baseline means it is not yet possible to carry out a trend analysis. SEPA will provide trend analysis as soon as it is possible to do so.

This will be the last Official Statistics to be published on a quarterly basis.  From December 2012 SEPA will start to publish waste data on an annual basis only, in calendar years rather than financial years.  This is to be in line with European reporting of waste data which is on a calendar year basis.