Worries over Scotland’s recycling

July 8, 2008 at 2:53 pm

A few weeks ago, Scotland’s recycling figures were published, leading to worries that the country will be unable to deliver on the ambitious targets imposed by the Scottish Government earlier this year. These targets aim to increase municipal recycling or composting rates to 40% by 2010, 50% by 2013, 60% by 2020 and 70% by 2025, with equally ambitious targets being set for landfill: the rate is currently 69% but the targets are 56% by 2010, 36% by 2013, 15% by 2020 and 5% by 2025.

The new figures reveal that, between 2006 and 2007, Scotland’s recycling rate has improved modestly by 4.1%, making its annual rate 31.2%. Richard Lochhead, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, heralded the figures as proof that the country was going in the right direction.

This sentiment was not shared by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, however, with Mike Rumbles, the shadow environment secretary, raising concerns that, with the reduction in the waste budget of £26 million, the targets were going to be extremely difficult to achieve.

The head of the waste unit at SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) echoed the Lib Dems’ concerns, saying that the targets for the future are “very challenging” and that the Scots cannot “slow down yet”.

Of course much of Scotland’s waste is produced by non-municipal users in industry and commerce and Mr Lochhead stated earlier this year that he would be turning his attentions to these areas too.

Mr Lochhead does not see the recycling issues purely in terms of the environment but has also said that they will lead to greater job opportunities in the waste sector.

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