Infrastructure Investment Plan 2021-22 to 2025-26: programme pipeline update - March 2023

This pipeline provides information relating to key major infrastructure programmes with an investment of £20 million or more included at Annex D of our Infrastructure Investment Plan, published in February 2021.

This document is part of a collection

Sector: Circular economy

Programme name: Waste Sector

Programme description: Investment to improve local authority recycling collection infrastructure, accelerate landfill gas capture and improve waste data through electronic waste tracking.

Estimated total investment: £75 million.

How is programme being funded: Capital funding committed from Scottish Government for the five years from 2021-22.

Programme delivery timetable: 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Latest programme progress: Since the launch of the £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund in March 2021, over £53 million has been awarded to 17 local authorities to invest in local authority recycling infrastructure. As one of the biggest investments in recycling in Scotland in a generation, we are funding more frequent recycling services and collections of new materials, the expansion of food and garden waste collections to new areas, boosting Scotland's capacity to recycle soft plastics and films, and local service redesigns to align with Scotland's Household Recycling Charter.

This landmark investment is making it easier for households to make the right recycling choices, and make an important contribution to meeting Scotland's waste, recycling and climate targets. The projects announced to date have the potential to reduce CO2e emissions by 49,000 tonnes each year - the equivalent of taking 26,000 cars off the road.

The Scottish Government is working in partnership with COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities), SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives) and Zero Waste Scotland to deliver the fund.

More information on the aims, scope and distribution of the fund is available at the Zero Waste Scotland website

A summary of responses to the consultation (21 January and 15 April 2022) on plans for the introduction of a mandatory digital waste tracking service in the UK was published on 15 December 2022. Funding has been allocated to support SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) with implementation of waste tracking in Scotland. The ambition is to provide a step change in the quality and timeliness of data on waste and resource flows to support decision-making. By making it easier to identify opportunities to reduce the waste produced and reuse the materials we consume, this will support our transition to a circular economy.

Work to accelerate landfill gas capture in Scotland was a new boosted policy, as outlined in the recent Climate Change Plan update, working with SEPA and key industry partners to scale up the existing landfill gas capture programme to mitigate effects of landfill and environmental impact of closed landfill sites. This is supported by additional funding from the Low Carbon Fund with the aim to harness the energy generated from landfill gas capture and maximise circular economy opportunities, where possible. Due to other unavoidable resource implications, including COVID-19 contingency work, progress on this policy outcome was paused. We will take forward plans this financial year (2023-24).

Contribution to economic development: This investment has the potential to unlock local reprocessing investments, create jobs and a ready supply of recycled material for new packaging. It is part of building a fully circular economy in Scotland, which will drive materials up the waste hierarchy and keep them in high value use for as long as possible. Research has shown that 10,000 tonnes of waste can create 1 job in incineration, 6 jobs in landfill, 36 jobs in recycling or up to 296 jobs in repair and reuse. The circular economy represents an enormous economic and industrial opportunity for Scotland and can improve productivity and open up new markets, while also benefiting workers and communities by providing local employment and lower priced goods. A more circular economy is also more self-sufficient – it reduces our reliance on imported goods and materials and provides increased economic resilience. This contributes to a range of UN (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals, including ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns.

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