Scottish domestic recycling performance panned

Environmentalists lobby for measures to lift recycling levels from "bottom of European league"

Official figures showing that recycling of household waste in Scotland fell for the first time ever in 1998/99 help to place the UK "at the bottom of the European recycling league" and demonstrate that "the crisis in Scottish waste recycling continues unabated," Friends of the Earth (FoE) Scotland's research director Richard Dixon said last Friday.

Contained in a report from the Accounts Commission for Scotland, the figures show that recycling levels dipped from 5.8 to 5.7%. Some municipalities recycled less than 2% of domestic waste, while the city of Glasgow managed only 2.2%.

The commission attributed the poor performance to the lack of a stable market for recycled products and low public awareness, an argument contested by FoE. Pointing out that other countries have achieved much higher figures of 53% - as in the case of Switzerland - Dr Dixon said Scotland urgently needed a campaign to promote the purchasing of recycled goods and new financial and legal measures, including taxes. He criticised the Scottish national waste strategy, published last December for lacking detailed targets and "for falling well short of what is required" (ENDS Daily 10 December 1999).

Follow Up:
FoE Scotland, tel: +44 131 554 8656; Accounts Commission for Scotland, tel: +44 131 477 1234.

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