The Scottish Executive has set targets for councils collectively to increase the amount of municipal waste that is recycled or composted to 25%, and to reduce landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) to 1.5 million tonnes, by 2006.
The recycling and composting rate rose from 7.4% to just 9.6% in 2002/03, according to the latest "disappointing" figures from Audit Scotland.1 Around a quarter of this amount was accounted for by composted material used by some councils as daily cover at landfills - a use unlikely to qualify as "composting" in England.
Although the proportion of municipal waste sent to landfill fell from 90% to 88%, this was offset by an increase in municipal waste arisings from 3.0 to 3.2 million tonnes. As a result, the amount of landfilled BMW actually rose from 1.674 to 1.746 million tonnes.
Fewer than half (14) of Scotland's 32 councils managed to recycle or compost more than 10% of municipal waste. Five had rates on or below 5% - the lowest being Highland with 3.5%.
The highest - Perth and Kinross, Angus and Dundee - all had recycling/composting rates above 17%. Half of Dundee's was accounted for by the recycling of incinerator ash.