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Scottish landfill targets 'unlikely to be met'

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Scotland is unlikely to meet its recycling targets putting into doubt that it will be able to reduce landfill to the levels required by the EU, a report claims.

Recycling has increased

The Sustainable waste management report, by the Accounts Commission for Scotland, says recycling has increased, with about a quarter of municipal waste now being recycled, compared to seven percent in 2001-02.

And there has been a huge increase in the number of recycling schemes, services and facilities.

‘More needs to be done’

But to meet EU Landfill Directive and Scottish government targets, councils will need to increase their recycling rates and achieve rapid reductions in the volumes of waste going to landfill.

Isabelle Low, deputy chair of the Accounts Commission for Scotland, said: “Councils have done well so far to achieve a rapid rise in recycling rates. But we still need to recycle more and success in the next phase will be harder.

“The Scottish government recycling targets will be difficult and costly to meet due to the need to recycle more types of waste, extend access to hard to reach areas such as tenements and rural communities, and because the value of additional materials collected will fall.”

Call for action

The report estimates councils' expenditure on waste management will need to reach an estimated£580m in 2019-20. Around£351m was spent on managing household waste in 2005-06.

It also calls for:

  • New facilities to deal with waste that is not recycled
  • Government and councils to learn from best practice and ensure they have the expertise to deliver the changes required
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