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Why is this National Indicator important?
The indicator refers specifically to biodegradable municipal waste collected by or on behalf of Scottish local authorities and diversion of this waste from landfill contributes towards meeting Scotland's share of the UK's targets under the EC Landfill Directive. In this context, local authority collected municipal waste is household waste and similar wastes from businesses. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is produced as biodegradable waste decomposes in landfills. The primary aim of this indicator is, therefore, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from landfill sites and so contribute to lessen the impact of climate change. Diverting waste from landfill also encourages more efficient use of waste resources in line with the waste hierarchy: 'Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Recover'.
What will influence this National Indicator?
Three key factors influence the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill. These are:
- Rate of waste growth.
- Composition of municipal waste, particularly the proportion of biodegradable material.
- Levels of recycling, composting and/or other waste treatment processes.
What is the Government's role?
Essentially to ensure that Scotland meets its share of the UK's Landfill Directive obligation. This is in line with the Zero Waste Plan as well as the waste hierarchy which puts landfill at the bottom of the list of waste management options. It will be achieved in partnership with local authorities, which have responsibility for deciding which facilities and services capable of diverting municipal waste from landfill to fund. Scottish Government has responsibility for monitoring progress through local authority Single Outcome Agreements.
How are we performing?
There has been an overall reduction in the volume of biodegradable municipal waste collected by or on behalf of local authorities sent to landfill in recent years. The latest figure of 1,104 kt during 2010/11 is a reduction of 59 kt compared with 1,163 kt in 2009/10.
View data on waste sent to landfill
Source: Scottish Environment Protection Agency: 2001/02 -2003/04 Local Authority Waste Arisings Survey, 2004/05 - 2005/06 Quarterly Landfill Allowance Scheme Return, from 2006/07 onwards Waste data flow
This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 15 kilotonnes of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 15 kilotonnes or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 15 kilotonnes or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Statistics Topic Page
Who are our partners?
Scottish Environment Protection Agency
Zero Waste Scotland
Related Strategic Objective(s)
Safer and Stronger