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Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill introduced

Today, 14 June, we welcomed the long-awaited publication of the proposed Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill.

The transition from current linear models to one built on circular economy principles is a challenging task, and we know that the ways in which Scotland produces, consumes, and manages natural resources will need to change. We, therefore, welcome recognition within the Bill’s Policy Memorandum and Explanatory Notes that ‘sustainable consumption and production are essential’ in Scotland’s transition to a low-carbon and green economy if we are to also fulfil our obligations in tackling the twin climate and nature emergencies, and that ‘material consumption and waste are primary drivers of nearly every environmental problem Scotland currently faces’.

Along with fellow members of Scottish Environment Link, we called for Scottish Government to introduce a statutory duty on Scottish Ministers to publish a Circular Economy Strategy every 5 years, and we are pleased to see this duty included in the proposed Bill. Additionally, we welcome the provision that a mid-point report must be laid before the Scottish Parliament.

We particularly support the proposals of the draft Bill that aim to tackle our throwaway culture including the introduction of consumption reduction targets, charges on single-use items, and the powers that will enable strengthening of the enforcement regimes associated with addressing roadside litter and flytipping.

87% of respondents to the Scottish Litter Survey indicate that litter is a significant concern across Scotland and our data shows that 94% of roadsides are impacted by litter. The proposals and provisions contained within the draft Bill provide enabling powers to help tackle these issues. Analysis of the consultation carried out for the forthcoming National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland indicated support for a more robust regime to tackle flytipping, and we therefore welcome the proposals set out in the draft Bill, and look forward to welcoming the much delayed National Litter and Flytipping Strategy.

Single-use items such as coffee cups are considered problematic for a range of reasons, and we welcome the proposal for a power to implement a minimum charge for cups and future problematic items. We know that problematic single-use items such as wet wipes and disposable vapes are on the radar of Scottish Government, and we look forward to publication of the Evidence Review into disposable vapes shortly.

We are pleased to see references to the polluter pays principle throughout the Policy and Financial Memorandums in the form of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging, and the role of such a funding model in delivering a high performing system. We would urge the Scottish Government to remain committed to its approach on EPR for packaging, particularly those in scope for ground litter.

Alongside the introduction of legislation, we hope to see a commitment to a public engagement campaign that highlights to everyone the many benefits that the transition to a circular economy will bring.

Catherine Gee, Deputy CEO Keep Scotland Beautiful:

“We are pleased to welcome publication of Scottish Government’s draft Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill. The legislation it proposes is a step forward in terms of tackling persistent environmental problems and the unsustainable habits that are prevalent across our society.

A significant aspect of the changes required across society in terms of tackling our environmental, sustainability and climate change challenges relate to the behaviours, habits, and actions that we all take throughout our day-to-day life at home, at work and in our communities.  What we purchase, consume and throw away is a big part of this, and a shift to a truly circular and zero waste economy requires us to rethink and redesign this at scale.

We look forward to playing our part in driving behaviour change across communities, organisations and other sectors in Scotland to help them understand more about the issue and give them the tools and confidence to make changes to adapt to more sustainable lifestyles.” 

 

The text of the Bill as introduced, along with policy memorandum and other documentation can be read here.

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14 June 2023

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