£11m plastic recycling wasted every year in Scotland

5 June 2018, 05:32

Plastic Ocean

More than 64,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging and bottles are binned every year in Scotland at a cost of £11 million, according to campaigners.

Zero Waste Scotland said households are chucking away an average of 27kg of plastic food and drink packaging that could have been put in recycling bins.

The plastic would have been worth £5.7 million if recycled but instead costs local authorities an estimated £5.3 million to send to landfill, the organisation claims.

Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: "Plastic is a valuable resource, and one which can help generate additional income when recycled properly, yet we are throwing it away, adding to pollution in Scotland and wasting public money that could have been invested in schools, parks or local facilities.

"There's an enormous opportunity to turn single-use plastic bottles into a valuable resource if placed in the correct recycling bins.

"We have come so far with our recycling capabilities, so when it's not possible to reduce or reuse plastic we ask everyone to put their used plastic bottles and food packing into the relevant recycling bin where they can.

"This simple step not only saves the environment, it saves council tax funds and generates money for your local authority area."

The organisation released the figures on World Environment Day, a global day which is this year focused on beating plastic pollution.

According to Zero Waste Scotland, an estimated 20 million plastic bottles are littered in Scotland each year and about 120,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste are produced from households over a 12-month period.

The Scottish Government has announced plans to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds as part of wider measures to clamp down on plastic pollution, including introducing a bottle deposit return scheme.

Last week, ministers announced that single-use coffee cups are to be banned in Scottish Government buildings in a further effort to reduce plastic pollution.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "This World Environment Day I'd like to ask people to do what they can to reduce their own use of single-use plastic, by reusing what they can and recycling when reuse is not possible. If we work together, we can make our vision our reality."