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New data released as Scottish Government Launches Recycling Improvement Fund

Posted: 18th March 2021

New survey data indicates increased concern for the environment and greater usage of recycling services, since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, according to new research for Zero Waste Scotland, released today (Thursday 18 March), Global Recycling Day.

The news comes on the same day the Scottish Government launches its £70m five-year Recycling Improvement Fund, which will be administered by Zero Waste Scotland, with local authorities able to apply for funds to improve infrastructure.

The results, from 1000 Scots who responded to an online panel survey, show that:

Almost half the population (46%) state that they have become more concerned about the environment since the start of the pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, the vast majority of survey respondents (92%) say they are recycling the same amount, or more than before. This indicates increased usage of recycling services.

Women, younger age groups (18-34) people with children and people living in flats or tenements were particularly likely say they were recycling more.

Key stated reasons for recycling more included an increased quantity to recycle (e.g. packaging from deliveries, more food consumed at home) and more time at home.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland said: “On Global Recycling Day, these survey results indicate an increasing concern of Scots for protecting our environment, and a stated increase in positive recycling behaviours, influenced by lifestyle changes. It underlines the need for a truly green recovery as we move out of the COVI-10 pandemic, and the crucial role of transformation initiatives such as the Recycling Improvement Fund, which will increase recycling, reuse and waste prevention options for people and communities across Scotland, as we move to a more circular economy.”

Research was undertaken for Zero Waste Scotland by 56 Degree Insight between 18th and 24th February 2021. A representative sample of 1,004 adults (aged 18 and over) resident in Scotland were interviewed, providing results accurate to +/- 3% at the 95% levels of confidence.

More about the Recycling Improvement Fund at

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