Council Rubbished for Lack of Recycling
by Tom Gordon
Local Government Correspondent
The Herald (Glasgow)
5 February 2003, p. 4.
SCOTLAND'S councils are still dumping too much of their rubbish in the ground and failing to switch to recycling, according to a government watchdog.
New figures from the Accounts Commission show 90% of the three million tonnes of household and commercial waste collected by councils last year went into landfills.
Only 7.4% was recycled, despite 60% (1.8 million tonnes) of all the waste being biodegradable, and most of the rest was simply burned.
There was a slight improvement on the previous year, when only 6% was reused. But the figures were dwarfed by other western countries with Switzerland recycling 52% of its waste, the Netherlands 45% and the US 31%.
Friends of the Earth Scotland warned councils would miss the Scottish Executive's target of 25% recycling by 2006, and called for a national doorstep recycling scheme.
Dr Dan Barlow, its head of research, said: "Scotland's record in recycling is appalling and we continue to languish at the bottom of the world league. While we welcome any improvement, it is clear that we are simply not doing enough.
"We need to see the rapid introduction of doorstep recycling for every household in Scotland." He said more funds need to be made available to councils for such schemes.
Alastair MacNish, Accounts Commission chairman, added: "It is not acceptable for councils to recycle low levels of waste and some councils are nowhere near meeting the target. If Scotland's recycling record is to improve, councils need to make recycling easy and convenient."
The average household produced one tonne of refuse during the year.
The commission found Dundee City Council was the greenest in 2001-02, recycling 21% of its waste. The worst performer was Eilean Siar (Western Isles), which recycled just 2%.
Eight councils, including Glasgow, Highland, and Fife, recycled below 5%.
A Scottish executive spokesman said recycling was a priority. On Monday, Ross Finnie, environment minister, announced the award of £110m to eight councils to improve recycling.