Members of the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and Local Authorities at the launch of the Recycling Improvement Fund

Recycling Improvement Fund (RIF)

01 Dec 23

In 2021, the Scottish Government launched the £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund (RIF), a five-year programme providing capital funding grants to local authorities for improving recycling infrastructure and services across the country. 

It is one of the biggest investments in recycling infrastructure to date in Scotland and will accelerate progress towards Scotland’s ambitious waste and recycling targets and net zero commitments. 

Local authorities across Scotland have applied to the fund to take forward projects that will increase both the quantity and quality of recycling whilst delivering wider environmental benefits. Partnership approaches are encouraged where there is potential to maximise impact. 

About the fund

Application proposals must be consistent with the overarching aim of the fund, which is to “accelerate progress towards 2025 waste and recycling targets and Scotland’s net-zero carbon commitment, by strengthening and improving local authority recycling infrastructure, resulting in increased consistency of collection, improvements to the quality and quantity of material collected, and wider environmental and carbon benefits”. 

The total grant allocation will be budgeted annually, subject to regular review. Funding is still available and we advise local authorities to contact their Recycling Partner.

Currently, local authority awards have been made for a diverse range of projects. These include service changes to increase kerbside and communal recycling provision, in-cab technologies to support operational efficiencies, and new treatment infrastructure to sort and recycle plastic films.

Funded projects

To date, a total of £60 million has been awarded to 30 projects, from 21 local authorities across Scotland.

The funded projects, are expected to divert nearly 50,000 tonnes of material per annum for recycling or reuse, resulting in carbon savings in the region of 56,000 tonnes CO2e per annum. 

Funding awarded under the Recycling Improvement Fund is shown in the table below or view funding awarded under the Recycling Improvement Fund – Small Grants Scheme here.

Local authorityProjectFunding awarded
Aberdeen CityInstallation of radio frequency ID tags for communal bins£220,000
Aberdeen CityExpansion of reuse service at Hazlehead Recycling Centre to include weatherproof storage and a mini shop £36,450
Aberdeen CityImprovement works at Sclattie waste transfer station to increase recycling and reuse£933,668
AberdeenshireIn-cab technology and route optimisation software for full fleet£250,000
AberdeenshireImplement a twin-stream recycling service for all households£3,540,415
Angus CouncilIntroduction of twin-stream kerbside recycling service and expansion of glass recycling point network£2,843,473
Argyll and ButeImprovements to household waste recycling centres to maximise recycling and reuse opportunities£891,945
ClackmannanshireIn-cab technology to target contamination and improve route efficiency£29,688
ClackmannanshireIntroduction of twin-stream kerbside recycling and reduced frequency residual waste collections across the region £583,890
Comhairle nan Eilean SiarRedesign of collection service, purchase of collection containers, including bins and bottle banks, and purchase of electric refuse collection vehicle£846,012
DundeeIn-cab technology to target contamination and improve route efficiency£87,962
East AyrshireSmall Grant Scheme - Improvement to recycling and food waste infrastructure at flatted properties £139,843
East LothianIntroduction of a weekly kerbside sort recycling service £2,747,531
EdinburghRedesign of waste and recycling service to approximately 130,000 households through installing on-street recycling close to residents’ dwellings£8,492,465
FifeIntroduction of plastic film recycling to households and the installation of a new optical sorter within a material recovery facility£470,000
GlasgowIntroduction of a twin-stream kerbside recycling service to 120,000 households and the  construction of a new material recycling facility£21,202,000
HighlandIntroduction of twin-stream kerbside recycling and expansion of weekly food waste collection service£6,550,302
HighlandExpansion of garden waste collection service£208,500
MidlothianIn cab technology to monitor collections and target contamination£34,100
MidlothianTransition to twin-stream collection service and reduced frequency of residual waste for kerbside and communal properties £2,322,042
MidlothianExpansion of Food Waste service to cover rural properties. £132,085
North AyrshireIn-cab technology to target contamination and improve route efficiency£6,856
North AyrshireHousehold waste recycling centre improvements, including infrastructure to support reuse of furniture and mattresses£74,535
North LanarkshireImprovements to communal recycling for flatted properties£276,840
Perth & Kinross Expansion of recycling service to Perth City Centre and introduction of twin-steam recycling collection service to kerbside properties£2,720,775
RenfrewshireHousehold waste recycling centre improvements to maximise recycling and reuse opportunities£374,370
South AyrshirePurchase of on-the-go recycling bins£90,000
South AyrshireIntroduction of recycling bins to schools£166,090
StirlingUpgrade their household waste recycling centres and expand the reuse of items in partnership with Transition Stirling and NHS Forth Valley£234,035
West LothianIntroduction of a twin-stream collection service plus improvements to communal collection points, introduction of road end collections, and the purchase of transformative data gathering chips£4,047,233