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Call for greater plastics co-ordination in Scotland

United Kingdom: A recent report from Zero Waste Scotland, which provides an in-depth analysis of the Scottish plastics recycling industry, says a co-ordinated collection, management and reprocessing effort is essential if recycling rates are to improve.

The three activities must proceed in parallel, the report emphasises, stating that it ‘is not economically practical to expect one stage of the supply chain to be developed in advance of others’.

The organisation believes there is ‘significant value in optimising the integration of each part of the supply chain’. While there is an export gateway to the Far East for low-quality material, it says that improving the quality in terms of cleaner, less contaminated waste would increase the potential for the domestic UK market.

Zero Waste Scotland benchmarked plastics waste arising in each of the region’s 32 local authority areas. Across Scotland as a whole, according to 2009 data, household waste amounted to 251 831 tonnes, but just 21 358 tonnes was recycled, with more than 90% sent to landfill or incineration. In the e-waste segment, 9 502 tonnes was recycled out of a total of 30 653 tonnes, leaving 69% for landfill and incineration.

Doubts about the accuracy of information from commercial and industrial sources mean that the overall recycling level of plastics waste was 17% or 27% in 2009, the report notes. On the same scale of uncertainty, the association expects future recycling rates to increase to between 39% and 47% in 2014, reaching between 45% and 52% by 2025.

To read the entire report, visit: www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/content/supporting-plastics-recycling-scotland


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