The Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (Sepa) statistics on household recycling for 2017 showed 45.6 per cent of waste generated in Scotland was recycled, up 0.6 per cent from 2016.
The amount of waste sent to landfill declined by 2.2 per cent in the same period – the sixth year in a row it has fallen.
The figures show Scotland generated 38,153 tonnes less waste compared to 2016, while the amount sent to landfill also fell by 24,848 tonnes. In total, Scotland sent 45 per cent of all its household waste to landfill.
Of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, 19 have improved their recycling rates year on year, and West Lothian now has the best recycling rate in the whole of the UK, according to Sepa.
Environment secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland has set itself some ambitious and challenging targets for recycling, above and beyond the standard EU target. We’re doing that to reflect our drive towards a more ‘circular economy’.”
Cunningham said the Scottish Government would soon be introducing a deposit return scheme, ahead of the plan by central Government to introduce a similar scheme in England and Wales.
Scotland’s official recycling rate has overtaken England’s for the first time, too. In 2016, the overall rate of household waste recycled in England stood at 44.9%. The 2017 figure has yet to be finalised.
New research by Viridor shows that Scots feel the most responsible in the UK for managing their own recycling as individuals rather than leaving the responsibility to business and government.
Seven out of 10 believe it is their responsibility to ensure their rubbish and waste is recycled. That figure is up five per cent on last year and is two per cent higher than the UK average.