Can weighing waste boost recycling?

Scotland’s first waste weighing programme will pilot next month in North Lanarkshire to determine how much recycling takes place and what can be done to boost it

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North Lanarkshire will become the first Scottish council to trial a waste weighing programme that uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology next month.

The pilot, funded by Zero Waste Scotland, will involve 5,000 households in North Lanarkshire and will be the first time RFID is used in Scotland to enhance recycling rates.

RFID tags will be attached to recycling collection bins and regular household waste bins to determine the individual weights of both and compare how much is being recycled against how much is reaching waste disposal.

North Lanarkshire Council has stated this will also reduce vehicle travel times and enhance planning for collection routes, as weights of waste can be determined before being picked up.

Figures from 2019 showed that North Lanarkshire residents recycled around 40% of their household waste, with the local authority looking to increase that figure to 70% by 2025.

Iain Gulland, CEO, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “RFID technology is ideal in helping councils gauge household waste levels. This project involves collecting data relating to the weight and make-up of collected waste and will have no impact on bin collection services.

“The primary focus is to gather data to determine which campaigns and interventions work best to reduce residual waste and increase the volume and efficiency of local recycling.”