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Environment / Recycling rate on the up, but still lowest in Scotland

Photo: Peter Johnson/Shetland News

AROUND 17 per cent of household waste in Shetland was recycled last year, according to new figures.

It is significant rise on the 10.5 per cent which was recycled in 2018, but it is still the lowest rate in Scotland.

Locally a lot of waste continues to be burned in the incinerator at Gremista, which helps to provide hot water to Lerwick through the district heating scheme.

Scotland’s overall household waste recycling rate was 44.9 per cent.

The new figures, from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), showed that Shetland generated 9,648 tonnes of household waste in 2019.

Around 1,650 tonnes of waste was recycled, with the kerbside scheme introduced by Shetland Islands Council a couple of years ago helping to boost figures.

Nearly 20 per cent of Shetland’s household waste went to landfill last year.

SEPA’s figures also highlight that in Shetland the carbon impact last year was 1.28 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per person. This continues to be one of the highest in Scotland.

Chairman of Shetland Islands Council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson said it was encouraging to see the isles’ household recycling rate on the rise.

“This is very welcome news, and highlights all the excellent work done by the Shetland public to improve Shetland’s recycling statistics,” he said.

“It’s important to keep monitoring and maintaining the recycling effort, and I thank the Shetland public for all their efforts and playing their part.”

Nationally less than one million tonnes of household waste was sent to landfill for the first time, a reduction of 26 per cent.

Outside of recycling of the waste diverted from landfill 78 per cent was managed through incineration.