Scotland has for the first time sent more waste for recycling than to landfill.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (Sepa) household recycling statistics for 2017 showed 45.6% of waste generated in Scotland was recycled – up 0.6% from 2016.
This meant that 1.12 million tonnes of waste went to recycling, while 1.11 million tonnes were landfilled.
Households generated 2.46 million tonnes of waste, down by 38,153 tonnes from the 2016 level, while the amount landfilled fell by 24,848 tonnes, equivalent to 2.2%.
Sepa said 19 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities improved their recycling rates from the previous year, with West Lothian and East Renfrewshire having the best results.
West Lothian increased its recycling rate by 12.8 percentage points to 61.3% and East Renfrewshire by 6.3 percentage points to 67.1%.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland has set itself some ambitious and challenging targets for recycling, above and beyond the standard EU target. We are doing that to reflect our drive towards a more circular economy.”
Cunningham said the Scottish Government would introduce a deposit return scheme, while its household recycling charter was making “the approach to recycling less confusing for households and creating a more consistent and efficient system for authorities”.
Scotland’s official recycling rate has now overtaken England’s for the first time. In 2016, the rate in England stood at 44.9%. The 2017 figure for England has yet to be finalised.