Local Authority Recycling

30 May 2013

John Mason MSP (Glasgow Shettleston) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government how it encourages local authorities to promote greater recycling.


Mr Richard Lochhead MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affais & The Envrionnment): The case for improving recycling rates is simple: it’s good for our environment and it’s good for our economy. We estimate that councils will be able to save in the region of £180 million in the cost of their waste services by 2025 if they meet the 70% target set out in the Zero Waste Plan. That’s money that can be reinvested in other vital services. At the same time, the materials collected for recycling have a monetary value that can support the growth of our recycling and reprocessing sectors, ultimately helping create economic and employment opportunities across Scotland. This alone should be encouragement enough.

Through the Zero Waste Scotland programme, I have put in place additional targeted support to help councils realise these opportunities including £5 million this year to support the roll-out of food waste collections and £350,000 to improve the quality of bring sites and support glass collections. This targeted support is, of course, only part of a much broader package of support being provided to businesses and councils across Scotland.

The local government concordat gives councils the flexibility and freedom to make decisions on how best to deliver waste services in order to meet zero waste targets and wider objectives. A number of councils in Scotland are leading the way with recycling rates that are already approaching 60%. Other councils, however, are not performing so well and they need to look to those that are and follow their example.