Scots lay waste to carbon emissions from rubbish

Scotland slashed carbon emissions from waste by a quarter between 2011 and 2015. That’s according to a new report from Zero Waste Scotland, which says this was achieved by improving […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Scotland slashed carbon emissions from waste by a quarter between 2011 and 2015.

That’s according to a new report from Zero Waste Scotland, which says this was achieved by improving domestic recycling rates and reducing the volume of food waste being sent to landfill.

Household waste generally accounts for less than a quarter of all Scottish waste in terms of volume.

However, in 2015, it accounted for 57% of the sector’s total carbon impacts, up 9% from 2011.

The five most carbon intensive waste materials make up only 6% of Scotland’s waste by weight but nearly a third of associated carbon impacts – these included chemical, metal and textile waste.

Food waste was the highest impact material in 2015, accounting for 2% of all waste but a much larger 17% of carbon emission impacts.

Iain Gulland, CEO of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “If Scottish households recycled just 10% more of their waste, we would save over 148,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, the equivalent of over 22,000 flights around the world.”