Highland Council has conducted waste composition analysis and discovered that 36% of binned household waste could be recycled or composted.
The analysis was funded by Zero Waste Scotland as part of a national analysis of the waste in household bins across Scotland.
On top of the 36% that could be recycled or composted at home, an additional 25% was food and drink in its packaging or in unopened containers, the majority of which could have been consumed.
The analysis also showed that on average refuse bins also contain glass bottles and jars , garden waste and metal, all of which are widely recycled.
2% of the waste was plastic pots, tubs, and trays – things that can go in the recycling bin when they are clean after a quick wash and dry.
The recycling rate for Highland is 37%. This includes recycling from the kerbside and Household Waste Recycling Centres.
The waste composition analysis was carried out in November 2022 using a sample of households in Contin, Evanton, Dingwall, Inverness and Strathpeffer.
Chairman of Highland Council’s communities and place committee, Graham Mackenzie said: “When we throw food away, it rots and releases methane, a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.
“Methane gas has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to the climate crisis.
“Getting as much recycling out of the refuse bin is the next important step as we all work towards a more sustainable waste solution and the funding from the Scottish Government’s Recycling Improvement Fund will certainly help us achieve this when the new refuse and recycling collections are introduced next year.”