Not all recycling is created equal.
In what it’s describing as a first-of-its-kind initiative, Scotland is completely reorganizing how it measures and incentivizes recycling to encourage cities to focus on what matters most: reducing carbon.
A Carbon Metric
The new “carbon metric” will prioritise materials with a high carbon impact such as plastics and textiles, which currently have relatively low levels of recycling in Scotland.
It will also highlight the relative merits of different waste management options, and will support the aspiration for greater “closed loop” recycling markets, for example, by giving higher weighting to glass which is recycled back into glass rather than that which is used for aggregates or insulation materials.
A Focus On What’s Important To Recycle
At the same time, local governments will be focusing less on materials that aren’t as important to recycle in terms of carbon saved, like paper.
This is believed to be the first attempt anywhere in the world to apply climate change thinking to waste management performance measurement.
Goal Of 70% Recycling By 2025
The new system has been devised to support the Scottish Government’s zero waste ambitions. It will help to prioritise the materials and waste management options needed to reach the target for 70% recycling by 2025.
Environment Minister Richard Lochhead said:
“I’m delighted to announce today another huge and world-leading step the Scottish Government is taking to monitor Scotland’s recycling successes. The new way of measuring performance will focus on the carbon savings of each item, rather than its weight.
“This demonstrates the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Plan in action and another huge step towards our vision of a zero waste Scotland.”
Government-Funded Zero Waste Program
Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government and works with
businesses, communities, individuals and local authorities to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use resources sustainably.
Can you imagine such a government-funded initiative in the U.S.? Kudos to Scotland!
Photo credit: ogt// ou gee tew tee via Creative Commons
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