An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland - Household waste - January to December 2012

date28 October 2013

Official Statistics released today by statisticians at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) show that Scotland's local authorities recycled 41.2% of the household waste they collected in 2012.

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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.

This is the second annual data set to use the updated recycling rate calculation required by the Scottish Government's Zero Waste Plan. In 2011 the figure was 40.1%.

These figures are now published annually, and not quarterly as in previous years. This has brought SEPA in line with European reporting of waste data, which is on a calendar year basis, and allows comparison and aggregation of the information on household waste data with commercial and industrial waste data.

The 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.

Also launched today is a new 'Discover Data' tool, which displays current and historic household waste arisings and management data from Scotland's 32 local authority areas in a visual format which is easy to understand and use. It has been developed by the Scotland's Environment Web Project, which is supported by funding from the European LIFE+ Programme, and is hosted on its website.

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Notes to editors

Figures for 2004/2005 to 2010/2011 are available on our website, but were calculated as local authority collected municipal waste (LACMW).

More information on the difference between household waste and LACMW is available on our website, along with changes to the definition of recycled materials:

  • Some waste outputs are no longer classified as "recycling" but as "recovery" because of the poor quality of recyclate. These are recycled organic outputs from MBT plants and metals and ash from incineration.
  • Some wastes that were previously classified as household are now classified as commercial.  These are street sweeping waste, gully waste and street recycling bins.

The 'Discover Data' tool includes the following:

  • Scotland Maps depicting tonnages of household:
    • waste arisings in 32 local authority areas;
    • waste recycling and composting in 32 local authority areas;
    • incineration in 32 local authority areas;
    • waste disposal in 32 local authority areas.
  • Graphs, pie charts and data tables of yearly trends in:
    • household waste arisings;
    • management type (recycling, recovery and disposal);
    • material type.
  • Maps and graphs and data tables will be produced from:
    • 2011 and 2012 household data (by waste type and local authority);
    • Total household data for Scotland 2004 – 2012 (showing overall arisings and management in each year).