Scotland’s recycling could make a giant Falkirk Wheel

Scotland’s plastic recycling efforts could rebuild the Falkirk Wheel 30 times larger than it currently stands.

Due to the increase in recycling habits across Scotland, 2017 was the first year that the amount of waste recycled, 1.12 million tonnes, was larger than the 1.11 million tonnes of waste that was sent to landfill. Reflecting an increased household waste recycling rate from 32.5% in 2010 to 43.4% in 2017.

The amount of plastic the Scottish recycled during 2017 contributed to 9% of the total amount of plastic recycled in the UK (54,294 tonnes) – enough to rebuild The Forth Bridge!

These successful efforts to recycle plastic items during 2017, could rebuild the Falkirk Wheel 30 times larger than it currently is, or is the equivalent of 90 extra The Kelpies structures popping up across Grangemouth.

With the UK becoming more eco-aware about the effects of plastic and packaging, our changing recycling habits have helped reduce over 600,000 tonnes of plastic in our landscape. This plastic contribution has helped the UK to meet a household recycling rate of 43.2% in 2018, which is a staggering 32% more than we were recycling in 2000 (11.2%).

To show the positive impact of plastic recycling efforts across the UK, The Body Shop has visualised regional plastic recycling between April 2017 and March 2018 in comparison to the weight of beloved UK landmarks. You can see more information about the campaign HERE.

Edinburgh is leading the way with Scottish recycling efforts

9% of the UK’s plastic recycling effort came from Scotland. Edinburgh contributed almost 4,000 tonnes of Scotland’s recycling between March 2017 to April 2018, with Glasgow and Falkirk coming close behind. Aberdeen just makes the top 5 spot with just over 1,000 tonnes contributed.

The table below highlights the top five cities and towns for plastic recycling in Scotland:

Landmark and recycled plastic comparisons were calculated by dividing the weight in tonnes of plastic recycled regionally by the weight in tonnes of the man-made landmark.

The Body Shop used data available from based on the amount of plastic sent to be recycled for every council in Scotland between January 2017 – December 2017.

Other sources include: Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Statista.

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