Latest trends in waste figures promise a more sustainable Scotland

date17 May 2012

Data released today shows that Scotland is changing its attitudes and practices toward the disposal of waste and is trying to become a more waste aware and sustainable nation.

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The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has today published Waste Data Digest 12: Key facts and trends, which looks at trends in waste data over the five year period between 2006 and 2010.

These latest figures show that Scottish homes and businesses are producing less waste, recycling more and landfilling less - all of which is good news for protecting the environment.

Jim Pritchard, SEPA's Data Unit Manager, said:

When we look at the last five years, we can see clear trends emerging. Less waste is being generated and landfilled and household recycling is on the increase. This demonstrates that not only is recycling becoming part of every day life for many people, so is reducing the amount of waste that is produced in the first place.

"The new Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 will build on these trends and allow Scotland to achieve its goal of recycling 70% of waste produced by households and businesses by 2025. The regulations will do this by ensuring that homes and businesses in Scotland are given more and better opportunities for recycling, including food waste, and stopping valuable waste materials from being landfilled or incinerated. They will also stop any biodegradable municipal waste from homes and businesses from going to landfill."

Key facts in the report include:

  • The total amount of waste generated fell by 1.92 million tonnes (10%) between 2006 and 2010, largely due to reductions in industrial waste.
  • The amount of waste recycled by Scottish local authorities increased by 133,000 tonnes (21%) over the five year period. The amount of waste composted by Scottish local authorities increased by 95,000 tonnes (27%) over the five year period.
  • The amount of controlled waste treated in 2010 was 2.65 million tonnes (50%) greater than in 2006.
  • The amount of controlled waste landfilled fell by 2.67 million tonnes (37%) between 2006 and 2010.
  • Between 2006 and 2010, the amount of biodegradable waste landfilled fell by 721,000 tonnes (30%).

Full details are available in the document, published on SEPA's website.

Mr Pritchard continues:

The trends indicate that regulations are making a difference to Scotland's environment. The Landfill (Scotland) Regulations 2003 require pre-treatment of waste before landfill and the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 ban biodegradable municipal waste from landfill from 2021. That these are having an effect is shown by the increase in waste treated and the reduction in biodegradable waste landfilled over the last five years."

SEPA reports a wide range of waste management data for a variety of statutory purposes. Much of these data are published in the Waste Data Digest. Data are reported on specific waste types, such as municipal, special (hazardous), and commercial and industrial wastes and by waste management method.


Notes to editors