Scottish Labour attacked the SNP/Scottish Greens government for their environmental failures after it was revealed that recycling rates had been dropping over the last five years and they would be missing their target by a substantial amount.
By Lucy Ashton
The SNP/Greens government has faced another humiliating environmental failure after it was revealed recycling rates have actually plummeted over the last five years.
Despite the vows from the nationalists that they were presiding over a new green future for the country, this rhetoric does not match the actual truth.
Statistics revealed by Scottish Labour found that recycling rates remain lower than 2014. In 2021, just 42.7 per cent of household waste was recycled, a lower rate than at any point between 2014 to 2019.
The amount of rubbish being recycled peaked in 2016 at 1,124,922 tonnes (45 per cent) and since then it has plummeted by almost 64,000 tonnes.
Last year, 1,061,042 tonnes of household waste was recycled which was 42.7 per cent of the total. While this is up on 2020, it is still lower than all of the six years before that.
The Scottish Government set a target of 60 per cent of rubbish to be recycled by 2020 but they missed this by a huge amount, and even falling short of their 2013 aim of 50 per cent.
It is not the first time in the last month that the SNP/Greens have been embarrassed by their lack of environmental progress. The Climate Change Committee warned that their statutory climate targets were at risk of becoming “meaningless” after they missed seven out of 11 legally-binding targets.
Scottish Labour’s net zero spokesman Colin Smyth highlighted the figures and pointed out that the current government is failing on a number of green fronts.
He said: “These dismal figures lay bare the reality behind the SNP-Green government’s hollow environmental rhetoric. They claim to recognise the scale of the climate emergency, but missed targets and broken promises pile up around us.
“This humiliating failure joins the long list of pledges this government has abandoned over the years, on everything from green jobs to emissions to active travel.
“The SNP-Green government’s usual mismanagement and spin won’t cut it – we need bold action to build a greener, fairer Scotland.”
When the Bute House Agreement was signed last year, the Scottish Greens claimed that this would lead to the government becoming “greener and fairer.”
But the recycling failure joins a number of other environmental mishaps that has befallen the SNP/Greens coalition, including their diesel bus promise being on-track for failing and their lack of electric charging points for drivers.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are taking dedicated action to increase recycling rates and reduce waste in our economy. Our £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund is delivering one of the biggest investments in recycling in Scotland in a generation, which will make it easier for households to recycle and increase local recycling rates.
“In August, we are introducing the UK’s first deposit return scheme for drinks containers, which will recycle billions of bottles and cans every single year. Our forthcoming Circular Economy Bill will establish the legislative framework to support Scotland’s transition to a zero waste and circular economy.
“Together, these actions will boost recycling and make an important contribution to the fight against the climate crisis.”
Pictures: The Dumbarton recycling depot at Dalmoak on the Renton Road.