Scottish Government announces £70m investment in recycling infrastructure

Exterior of the Scottish Parliament

THE Scottish Government has launched a new £70 million fund to improve recycling infrastructure across the country.

Local authorities are being urged to apply for the five year recycling improvement fund, which opens next week, to help drive new innovations and improvements to recycling in their area and across Scotland.

The programme is one of the biggest single investments by the Scottish Government in recycling infrastructure to date. It comes as the country looks to accelerate progress towards ambitious waste and recycling targets and net zero commitment.

The government added that the investment will back things such as the promotion of waste prevention or reuse, the improvement of the consistency of collections, the collection of problematic materials such as electrical items, improving sorting and treatment infrastructure, and introducing new low-carbon technologies.

Environment and climate change secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, commented, “The recycling improvement fund offers an opportunity for national and local government and the waste sector to continue our partnership to reinvigorate improvements in recycling across the country, and make it easier for households to make the right choices.

“The fund will help local authorities to take forward projects that tackle key challenges and increase recycling performance in their area. We’re also keen to see new ideas from local authorities that can ensure our recycling infrastructure keeps pace with the modern economy. For example, the growth in waste electrical equipment and the role re-use and repair can play, or broader changes in household behaviours which affect the volume and types of waste managed by local authorities.

“In addition, planned changes, such as the introduction of the deposit return scheme, will mean our recycling infrastructure will need to innovate and modernise in the years ahead, ensuring we continue to be bold world leaders in creating a more circular economy.”

Chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, Iain Gulland, added, “Zero Waste Scotland is proud to be working with the Scottish Government and local authorities to deliver one of the country’s most exciting and ambitious recycling, reuse and waste prevention programmes in our history, which will improve services and infrastructure for people across the country. I’m really looking forward to applications from local authorities for ideas to develop their infrastructure.

“This fund will be transformational in helping our communities embrace a circular economy, where materials and products are kept in use for as long as possible, and where new economic opportunities and social benefits flourish.”

COSLA spokesperson for environment and economy, councillor Steven Heddle, said, “We welcome this fund and look forward to working in partnership with our member councils, the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland to facilitate change and bring benefit to communities throughout Scotland.

“Councils across Scotland have set themselves ambitious climate change targets, and tackling our throw-away culture is part of this. Councils know their local communities and understand the specific opportunities and challenges in their areas. The fund offers real opportunity to start addressing some of these at the local level, offers breadth of opportunity and seeks change and innovation.”