Recycle at home to fight global climate change

Landfill site

"If Scottish households recycled just ten per cent more of their waste, we would save over 148,000 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent of over 22,000 flights around the world." That's the mind-bending stat released this week by the organisation urging Scots to make more use of their recycling collections.

Zero Waste Scotland has developed a tool called the Carbon Metric, which shows both how much material is recycled and the carbon impact of our waste.

The Carbon Metric's latest results, for 2014/15, reveal that a quarter of Scotland's waste comes from household bins, but that it accounts for 57 per cent of the total carbon impacts. That's actually a nine per cent increase since 2011.

Food waste was found to be the most carbon-intensive waste material and generated 17 per cent of impacts in 2015. Textiles – clothes and so on – made up just 0.3 per cent of waste in 2015 but a significant five per cent of the impact. All this stuff can be reused or recycled in some way.

"Our ground-breaking carbon metric shows that recycling continues to have an important part to play in the fight against climate change," adds Iain Gulland, CEO of Zero Waste Scotland, to his comment above.

"This should be a tonic to those who do all they can to reduce and recycle waste and it should encourage others to strive for more. Reducing or recycling food waste and reusing our old clothes are simple actions that have a big environmental benefit.

"It's important during national Recycle Week that we all take the chance to see what more we can do."

Scotland has big plans to become a circular economy country – that is, keeping products and materials in circulation for longer to reduce carbon emissions and save money.

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