In late May, the Scottish Government unveiled new measures, intended to increase reuse and recycling rates, and modernise and improve waste and recycling services in Scotland.

Proposals are set out in two public consultations – on a Circular Economy Bill and a Route Map to 2025 and beyond, both running until 22 August 2022.

The consultation on a Circular Economy Bill seeks views on our proposals for legislation to develop Scotland’s circular economy. It sets out a number of areas in which the Scottish Government are seeking views on whether to take powers within a new Circular Economy Bill. Key proposals include:

  • banning the destruction of unsold goods to ensure that products never end up landfilled or incinerated when they could be used or recycled
  • improving household recycling and reuse services and consulting on separate kerbside collection of textiles by 2025
  • introducing new reporting to show where recycling goes once it has been collected
  • measures to reduce the consumption of problematic single-use items and promote reuse of products
  • new powers to tackle littering from vehicles
  • a mandatory requirement for businesses to report surplus and waste figures for goods such as food and textiles
  • powers to set local recycling targets

The consultation on the Route Map to 2025 and beyond offers an opportunity to comment on the Scottish Government's strategic plan to deliver zero waste. The proposed priorities in the Route Map are to:

  • promote and support responsible production and consumption (including tackling consumption of single-use items and promoting reuse)
  • reduce food waste from households and businesses
  • significantly improve recycling from households and businesses
  • embed circular construction practices
  • minimise the impact of disposal of waste that cannot be reused or recycled
  • strengthen our data and evidence, sustainable procurement practices, and skills and training

If you are interested and would like to contribute to an industry response, please get in touch with Ewan or Nadiya. 

Following the publication, Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the SRC, commented:

“Retail is amongst the most climate-conscious industries and a leader in reducing the environmental impacts of its operations. Retailers have already significantly reduced carbon emissions, water usage, and the portion of waste which goes to landfill alongside a veritable gamut of sustainability initiatives.“Whilst this legislation was rightly delayed due to the Covid pandemic, retailers have not stopped their efforts to deliver a more circular economy, for example through the immense investment in implementing the Scottish deposit return scheme. With retailers also facing higher costs due to the plastics tax and extended producer responsibility government needs to take a realistic view of what further burdens should be passed onto consumers at a time when inflation is spiralling.“Government must also ensure the public sector is fully playing its part, starting with shifting to a Scotland, or indeed ideally UK-wide, harmonised household recycling system which could transform recycling rates across the nation.”