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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 16:10 GMT
Scotland 'hits recycling targets'
Bottle bank
The public sector is being urged to cut waste
Scotland has reached its target of recycling 25% of municipal waste, according to figures for the second quarter of 2005/06.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency statistics, covering the period from July to September, were welcomed by Environment Minister Ross Finnie.

But he said that more had to be done to improve Scotland's record, a call echoed by unions and environmentalists.

The minister launched a consultation to seek views on the issue.

The Scottish Executive had set a target of recycling or composting 25% of municipal waste by 2006.

The figure for the three-month period ending in September was 25.1%.

This is a big challenge and may involve radical steps
Environment Minister Ross Finnie

Mr Finnie added that the rolling year average from October 2004 to September 2005 was 21%.

Scotland's 32 local authorities have been given almost 400m to pay for recycling initiatives.

However, recycling rates varied widely among councils and nearly half have not reached the 25% target.

While Clackmannanshire Council had a household recycling rate of almost 40%, homes in the Western Isles recycled just under 10% of their waste.

Mr Finnie said that recycling had been increased in Scotland from a low base through "hard work by local authorities".

"However, we cannot rest on our laurels. I am determined to see further improvements in Scotland's recycling rate and I also want to see households minimising their waste," he said.

"Therefore, I am launching a consultation to seek views on what more can be done to reduce the waste we produce.

We must all transform the way we deal with waste
Roddy Mann
Unison

"This is a big challenge and may involve radical steps. We would encourage as many people as possible to offer views."

Public services union Unison argued that Scotland needs to drastically cut the amount of waste sent to landfill - a major source of greenhouse and other gases.

Roddy Mann, an environmental services manager for Fife Council and a Unison member, said: "Our attitude to waste today will determine the legacy we leave for future generations. We must lead by example."

The union's Scottish organiser Dave Watson added: "Scotland must drastically cut the amount of waste sent to landfill, which is a major source of greenhouse and other gases.

"We must all transform the way we deal with waste. This applies to individuals, families and the public, private and voluntary sectors."

'Postcode lottery'

Stuart Hay, head of research for Friends of the Earth Scotland, welcomed "some decent progress" in recycling, but he said that the war on Scotland's poor record on waste was just beginning.

"It is clear that where there is political will and adequate funding, recycling rates can rise rapidly," he said.

"Failing councils need to pull their socks up, learn from their neighbours and make progress."

Shiona Baird MSP, the Green's energy spokeswoman, said: "There should be no postcode lottery - everyone should have easy access to recycling facilities, preferably kerbside collections."

However, Dr Nicki Souter, campaigns manager of the Scottish Waste Awareness Group said: "These figures are hugely encouraging and show we're moving firmly in the right direction regarding Scotland's recycling record.

"Moreover, they serve as an indicator that the recycling message is getting through and provide a great platform on which to build for the future."

The new figures come at the start of Scottish Environment Week.

A series of events is being held across Scotland, examining issues from waste reduction to plant conservation and projects to clean up beaches.


SEE ALSO:
Action call over recycling levels
03 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Funding boost for waste projects
18 Oct 04 |  Scotland
UK launches 10m recycling effort
27 Sep 04 |  Science/Nature
Fife's green light for recycling
22 Sep 04 |  Scotland
Minister seeks green role models
21 Sep 04 |  Scotland
Recycling projects share 14m
06 Jun 03 |  Scotland


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