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Scotland's shake up hailed a success

A recycling shake-up that saw Edinburgh’s household waste wheelie bins halved in size has been credited with boosting recycling rates by 85%.

The pilot across 140,000 households has witnessed a significant reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill and the scheme is now expected to be rolled out across the entire city. Homes were given a new 140-litre bin for landfill waste, and told to use their larger 240-litre bin for mixed recycling. 

The new bins stoked controversy because they could only hold five bags of rubbish from a typical 30-litre kitchen bin compared to eight held by larger containers. However it has had the desired effect as it has ensured householders recycle more.

The scheme has been widely applauded by councillors. Households under the pilot recycled 3.5kg per week - 85% more than the city-wide average of 2kg.

Despite recent efforts, the city has missed its recycling targets for six consecutive years. Environment leader Councillor Lesley Hinds welcomed the "encouraging” figures from the first few months of the new scheme.

Zero Waste Scotland, the Scottish Government-backed organisation that supports local authorities to increase their recycling rates, praised the new waste scheme as a great success.

A spokeswoman said: "These figures are a great indication that the changes made by the City of Edinburgh Council to their recycling collections have been a significant success, and we look forward to seeing the final results.” 

It is encouraging to see local authorities taking charge of their recycling targets and promoting their successes across the UK. After a tough 2014 it seems that Scotland is joining Wales in producing effective measures to ensure that the strict EU targets are becoming realistic. 


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