Increasing levels of household waste have raced up national, regional and municipal environmental policy agendas around the world, especially as heavy reliance on landfill and incineration is becoming prohibitively expensive and also a high profile source of local voter dissent or vociferous NIMBY behaviour. In an attempt to reduce reliance on these options, UK local authorities have increasingly been forced to turn to recycling. This paper reports on a broad empirical study of household recycling, utilizing national survey-based evidence (drawn from over 31 000 interviews in Scotland). Hitherto, very few published empirical studies have addressed the household recycling decision using national survey data to furnish baseline evidence. For this purpose logit analysis is undertaken, using data extracted from the Scottish Household Surveys of 2000 and 2001. This work also serves as the basis for further detailed modelling of a selection of illustrative household types. After consideration of particular waste streams and the availability of different recycling schemes, the effects on the probability of recycling participation of age, income level, household composition, car ownership and local authority were analysed. While there are clear income effects, the picture regarding the impact of household composition and some other factors is more complex.