Scotland waste to landfill drops by 11 per cent

The total amount of waste being sent to landfill in Scotland has dropped by an impressive 465,000 tonnes, according to data from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

For the first time the official statistics for the volumes of household waste collected across all local authorities in 2016 has included data on the amount of waste landfilled and incinerated in Scotland.

The figures show that the total waste landfilled in Scotland in 2016 was 3.72m tonnes, which is a significant 11.1 per cent decrease from 2015. SEPA says that these figures are consistent with a decreasing trend of waste disposed to landfill over the past decade.

The total quantity of waste incinerated in Scotland in 2016 was just over 683,000 tonnes, which is an increase of 28,000 tonnes (4.3 per cent) from 2015, and an increase of 273,000 tonnes (66.6 per cent) from 2011 figures.

The total quantity of household waste generated in Scotland for the 2016 calendar year was 2.5 million tonnes, which is a 1.2 per cent increase from 2015, and the household waste recycling rate also increased by 1 percent compared to 2015.

Household waste to landfill

The quantity of household waste landfilled in 2016 decreased by 18,731 tonnes from 2015. This is the fifth consecutive decrease in household waste landfilled, which has dropped by 22 per cent since 2011.

SEPA attributes this decrease to more waste being recycled, but it is also due in part to less waste generated and more waste being diverted from landfill to incineration, as well as the production of Refused Derived Fuel (RDF) and Compost Like Outputs (CLO).

In terms of individual performance, East Renfrewshire was the only authority to break the 60 percent recycling barrier, at 60.8 per cent, recycling more than 29,000 of its 47,724 tonnes of waste generated.

Dundee City landfilled just 6.8 per cent of its generated waste, with almost 60 per cent being classed as “diverted from landfill” and circa 30 per cent being recycled.

SEPA says the data on waste is collected to monitor policy effectiveness, and to support policy development, particularly commitments in the Scottish Government's Making Things Last - A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland. Further details on the methodology used to produce the figures are provided in the “Household waste” section of the annual Waste Data Quality Reports.

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