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Scotland struggles towards 40% recycling target

May 21, 2010 at 10:51 am

The government’s environmental watchdog has warned that Scotland still has a long way to go to reach its target of recycling 40% of rubbish by the end of 2010.

The latest figures released suggest that Scotland currently recycles 34% of all rubbish and will face a serious challenge to increase that by 6% or more over the coming year.

The rate of 34% is a success story given that it is nearly twice the amount recycled five years ago, but the rate of increase has slowed in recent years and 40% now looks unlikely.

In its recently published annual report, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) called the 40% figure ‘challenging’ and suggested that more needed to be done if Scotland was to meet its expectations.

Martin Marsden, head of environmental quality at SEPA, was keen to highlight the task that would be faced in the future. He stated that "even greater challenges lie ahead" and that everyone would have to accept lifestyle changes in order to "further prevent, reuse and recycle our waste in Scotland".

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government was keen to point out that many Scottish councils were now breaking the 40% target and that Scotland as a whole was taking huge strides towards reducing its dependency on landfills. She was quick to warn, however, that "we cannot take our foot off the pedal".

The zero-waste goals, which include a 50% nationwide recycling rate by 2013 and a 60% rate by 2020, were given further support in February when an extra £7 million was provided to local councils in Scotland in an attempt to help them reach their recycling goals.

Whether Scotland’s target of a 40% recycling rate can be achieved by the end of the current year remains to be seen, but it seems that in light of the most recent figures, Scotland has a long way to go to realise the goals of its zero waste policy.

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