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Facts & Figures

This section provides some key facts and figures about waste in Scotland.

The amount of waste that we produce is increasing by around 2% per year. The graph below shows the amount of waste produced in Scotland each year since 2000.
Much of the waste that we produce can be reused or recycled. The chart below shows the contents of an average household waste bin.
In addition to reuse and recycling, we also need to reduce the amount of waste that we produce in the first place. Reducing, reusing and recycling are all important parts of the solution to help us reach our targets for reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill.

Key waste reduction and recycling targets in Scotland:
  • 2006
    • recycle or compost 25% of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
  • 2008
    • recycle or compost 30% of MSW
  • 2010
    • stop the annual increase in the amount of waste produced
    • reduce the amount of Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) that is sent to landfill to 75% of 1995 levels
  • 2013
    • reduce the amount of BMW that is sent to landfill to 50% of 1995 levels
  • 2020
    • collect waste materials for recycling from 90% of households
    • recycle or compost 55% of MSW
    • reduce the amount of BMW that is sent to landfill to 35% of 1995
      levels
Scotland ’s current recycling and composting rate is 21%.

The graph below shows the percentage of waste recycled and composted in Scotland each year since 2000.
You can view key local waste figures in Your Area.

You can find more waste data on the SEPA website.

Sources:
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency Waste Data Digests 4 & 5
  • Landfill Allowance Scheme Rolling Year Data Oct 2004 - September 2005
* This information relates to Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), which includes all solid waste that is collected by (or on behalf of) local authorities.
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