Waste & Circular Economy

The Perth and Kinross Climate Action Plan provides our overall vision to ensure we achieve a low carbon and climate resilient Perth and Kinross.

Waste is an important area to tackle emissions-wise. The direct Scope 1 and 2 emissions associated with the treatment and processing for Council collected waste is only estimated as 18.5kt CO2e for 2020. Where waste has a much larger footprint is through its Scope 3 emissions, which are estimated at 134 kt CO2e. These are the emissions associated with the production of goods (e.g. the emissions associated with growing food that is going to waste) and the associated emissions that could be avoided if the product was recycled appropriately (e.g. recycled versus virgin glass).

The plan highlights waste can be managed sustainably through reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling. Perth & Kinross Council aim to improve resource efficiency by helping to work towards a circular economy (where we reuse materials, rather than taking the traditional approach of making items, using them and throwing them away). This ideology will be encouraged within our communities, schools, businesses and internally throughout Perth & Kinross Council’s service areas.

Waste emissions had been decreasing across Perth & Kinross Council area and very positively had led to a 45% reduction in per household weekly waste collections over the six years to 2019. Lifestyle changes associated with Covid saw some reversals of these trends, but targeted work has seen especially the recycling contamination rate move back to more normal levels.

Infographic: Action within Perth and Kinross (Waste and Circular Economy)
Infographic: Accessible version of Action within Perth and Kinross (Waste and Circular Economy)

  • Perth & Kinross Council’s Waste Team regularly use routing and mapping software to analyse collection routes. These look at the distances covered, properties serviced, weights collected and return distances for tipping. With this information, the most fuel-efficient routes can be calculated to ensure the best use of vehicles and crew time. On occasion, when large housing developments are added to collection rounds, adjustments must be made elsewhere to ensure capacity can be found to service properties.
  • Since 2016, Perth & Kinross Council's Commercial Waste Team have helped roll out a programme of food waste recycling for schools across the whole of Perth and Kinross. Waste Regulations only require food waste to be uplifted in areas deemed as “urban”, however the Commercial Team, in conjunction with Education and Tayside Contracts, have manged to install collections in all but 2 schools in the authority. These collections help to divert thousands of tonnes of food waste from landfill every year, and encourage awareness of food waste in schools.
  • As visitors have not been able to run waste education sessions in schools due to COVID, a series of presentations for self-delivery have been created by the Waste Team for teachers to use in the classroom. The suite of presentations cover various topics and for a variety of ages and abilities. They can also be used as evidence toward Eco-Schools awards.
  • In 2022, Perth & Kinross Council's Operations Team will start to install and use in-cab technology. These devices will remove the need for much of the paper-based work provided to collections crew and help create more efficient ways of working.
Pie Chart: Scope 3 Emissions (Waste)
Pie Chart: Scope 3 Emissions (Waste)

Waste is the main contributor to Perth & Kinross Council’s Scope 3 emissions as it represents 96% of emissions. Refuse municipal waste to landfill currently accounts to a large proportion of emissions, however, this figure does not represent Perth & Kinross Council waste only. The reason for this is that waste is not weighed at the time of pick-up which does not allow the differentiation between Council waste from other waste that is collected.

Stick to the Six

In April 2021 the Stick to the Six contamination campaign was launched to improve the quality and quantity of material collected at the kerbside. Contamination has been a growing problem for local authorities across the UK through COVID, with rates in Perth and Kinross climbing to 29%. Through communications and on-the-ground intervention work that rate dropped to 19.9% in September 2021, and further still to 14.1% in October. www.pkc.gov.uk/sticktothesix

PDF: Stick To The Six flyer
PDF: Accessible version of Stick To The Six flyer

City Centre Containerisation

In early 2020, City Centre Containerisation was rolled out with the aim of improving the waste facilities within the centre of Perth. The containerisation was the replacement of the old “sacks on the street” waste system, with large communal containers. The benefit of this action would improve the problem of ripped sacks causing litter and debris, would reduce the amount of street sweeping required and would allow bins to be serviced less frequently. www.pkc.gov.uk/binhubs

Waste Journey

In 2019, the Waste Team created several “journeys” videos to show what happens to materials when they are collected. The videos were in response to findings from the Household Waste & Recycling Survey which concluded residents wanted further information on this topic.

Perth City Centre Recycling Initiative

The first stage of the Perth City Centre Recycling initiative was rolled out in late 2019 with the blue bin recycling service expanded to include a further 650 properties on individual containers. The next stage is planned for 2022 with the addition of communal recycling at bin hubs.

The focus areas for the Waste and circular economy theme are:

Ensure alignment with the Scottish Government Climate Change Route map: This aims to reduce waste and meet the national waste and recycling targets for 2025 and maximise the waste sector’s contribution. This requires Perth & Kinross Council to assess and plan how the national Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) and Extended Producer Responsibility (UK wide legislation) can be introduced effectively in Perth and Kinross. It also includes a review of the implications of Circular Economy Bill which will encourage the reuse of products & reduce waste. The Bill will tackle our reliance on single-use items and include measures to tackle textile pollution/fast fashion.

Bar Chart: tCO2 of Food, Household, Textiles, Plastics and Paper
Bar Chart: tCO2 of Food, Household, Textiles, Plastics and Paper

Promoting a rapid transition to a Circular Economy: This starts by undertaking a Circular Scan to establish baseline data and help inform the design of a circular vision and strategy. A current state analysis will be conducted that involves a Material Flow Analysis (MFA) relevant to the built environment of the region and a socio-economic scan with a focus on key economic sectors, employment, and wellbeing. Following this, it is necessary to explore initiatives to reduce consumption of resources and make better use of existing products including tackling single-use items. The includes helping to establish a Reuse & Repair Network for Perth and Kinross.

Illustration: Waste and Circular Economy
Illustration: Waste and Circular Economy

Developing and delivering thematic action plans for the high carbon emissions materials:

This includes developing a Food Waste Plan and a route map for Circular Textiles and Sustainable Fashion.

Improving our recycling services:

This includes delivering new recycling services e.g., expand services to Perth City Centre and introduce twin stream recycling to increase capture of materials for recycling as well as improving quality of recycling in the dry mixed recycling service. Leading by example is important, so an early action will be to develop a Schools Recycling Plan to support wider climate change work within the school estate.

Maximise value from waste by reducing Waste sent to landfill: This includes a focus on diversion of organic waste from landfill into recycling and energy production.

A climate emergency has been declared internationally and recognised by both the UK and Scottish Governments. ​The key long-term target is to ensure Perth and Kinross is Net Zero by 2045 at the latest. To achieve this, the majority of action required must be underway by 2030.​ The following road map provides an overview of the actions which Perth & Kinross Council will undertake to achieve these targets in relation to Waste.

Waste and Circular Economy Roadmap_Page 1
Waste and Circular Economy Roadmap
Waste and Circular Economy Roadmap
Waste and Circular Economy Roadmap_Page2

The following key challenges and opportunities have been identified and assessed during the development of our Climate Action Plan. We have implemented a strategic plan to reduce or eliminate the possible impacts of challenges and we are focussing on potential opportunities, implementation, and outcomes.

Policy and Legislation

Several of the policy and legislative drivers still in development and an update from the Scottish Government is expected in Spring 2022. These will have significant implications on Perth & Kinross Council’s waste service operations and the national funding assistance available to local authorities. Locally, we need to actively engage in consultations to help shape achievable policy requirements.

Engagement, Culture & Inclusion

​ Engagement and culture change will be an on-going priority to reduce unnecessary waste and improve the quality of recycling. Transformational change to embed the waste hierarchy which promotes waste prevention and reduction, reuse, repair and recycling requires significant positive behavioural change and informed and educated citizens and businesses.

Skills & Capacity

Appropriate skills are necessary to undertake the climate agenda. Perth & Kinross Council are leading the way by investing in current staff and providing them with training to have the relevant skills required to tackle climate change. In addition, we will be working closely with our external partners to provide career pathways and encourage investment in staff through Community Benefits and partnering arrangements.

Infrastructure & Innovation

Driving innovative solutions and supporting business with new business models is essential to overcoming barriers.

Funding & Finance

Leveraging and accessing relevant funding to deliver on the ambitions. In the past few years, funding secured through the “Community Benefits” element of contracts has provided a means to run additional campaigns. Examples of these include the improvements to reuse collection facilities at Recycling Centres; small scale waste electrical amnesties; a cross-council litter and flytipping campaign​; signage improvements at Recycling Centres; recycling journey videos.

Data & knowledge

There is a lack of detailed data at local level but ongoing consultation will enhance the information we gather to analyse and improve the services we deliver. The volume and type of waste arisings has fluctuated partially due to Covid, therefore the quality of recycling has been impacted negatively. This is an opportunity for us to assess contingency plans going forward.

Job creation

There is an identified skills and capacity gap to take forward opportunities nationally and in Perth and Kinross, including in the repair sector. Developing expertise through joining the academic sector with industry is critical for developing these skills. Zero Waste Scotland identify that there is significant opportunity for job creation and predict that the transformation to a zero-waste society will generate at least 2,000 jobs across Scotland. To help capture these jobs, driving innovative solutions and supporting business with new business models is essential to overcoming barriers e.g., bio-refining of waste, plastics processing.

The following Key Performance Indicators have been developed to enable progress and monitor climate action related to Waste and Circular Economy. The KPI framework will be further developed during 2022.

Key Theme

Performance Indicator

Baseline Value

Ensure alignment with the Scottish Government Climate Change Route map

Total household waste generated (tonnes) and household waste generated per person (kg)

77,535 tonnes of household waste generated; 0.51 tonnes per person = 510 kg per person (2020)

Total household waste recycled/composted as % of all household waste

43.4% all household waste landfilled (2020)

Total household waste recycled/composted as % of all household waste

49.4% all household waste recycled/compost (2020)

Promoting a rapid transition to a Circular Economy

To be developed

Indicator methodology and baseline under development – to be finalised in 2022

Developing and delivering thematic action plans for the high carbon emissions materials

Carbon impact of household waste per person (tonnes CO2e)

0.91 tonnes CO2e (2020)

Whole Life Cycle Emissions for Perth & Kinross Council Collected Waste

160,780 tonnes CO2e (2020)

% of households with food waste collection


% Residents satisfied with their local refuse collection service

81.4% of residents

satisfied with their local refuse

collection service (2017-2020)

Maximise value from waste by reducing Waste sent to landfill

% of households served by twin stream recycling

Indicator methodology and baseline under development – to be finalised in 2022.

Note: 96% currently have access to blue bin dry mixed recycling. However it is planned to have twin steam recycling to service 73,000 properties (over 97% households) within Perth and Kinross.

Dry Mixed Recycling contamination rate (%)

24.2% (2020/21)

Please see our Take Action and Get Involved pages to help towards tackling climate change.

Perth & Kinross Council Waste YouTube Channel
Reduce Reuse Recycle - YouTube

Stick to the Six Contamination Campaign

Kerbside Services

Tayside Flytipping

Community Litter Picking Equipment

Commercial Waste Services

Waste and recycling services for businesses
Food waste reduction in your workplace - Perth & Kinross Council (pkc.gov.uk)

Waste Services Facebook

Love Food, Hate Waste Scotland