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Making Things Last - A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland

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13. Measuring progress

13.1 Our ambition

We want to improve our understanding of how products and materials flow through our economy - to track progress, understand the environmental benefits delivered, assess the scale of potential opportunities; and help identify future actions.

13. 2 Context

Progress towards a circular economy means a change in the way we do things, and a change in process. While tonnage-based targets and indicators for material flows remain important, a focus on weight does not give us a full understanding of environmental impacts or economic impact, and further improvement in measures, data reliability and quality are required.

As we move towards a more circular approach, we need to better understand the flow of materials through supply chains to consumers and onwards to other uses. We want to strengthen our evidence on the value and business impacts of circular economy opportunities, building on the research undertaken so far to help business and the public sector prioritise.

Scotland has ambitious targets for waste and resource management, as set out below;

Target

Year

Set by

Reduce waste arising by 7% against the 2011 baseline of 13.2 million tonnes.

2017

Scottish Government

Recycling and preparing for re-use of 50% by weight of household waste and similar.

2020

EU

60% recycling/composting and preparing for re-use of waste from households.

2020

Scottish Government

No more than 1.26 million tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to be sent to landfill.

2020

EU

70% recycling and reuse of construction & demolition waste.

2020

EU

Reduce waste arising by 15% against the 2011 baseline of 13.2 million tonnes.

2025

Scottish Government

No more than 5% of all waste to go to landfill. (Following ban on biodegradable municipal waste to landfill from 2021)

2025

Scottish Government

70% recycling/composting and preparing for re-use of all waste by 2025.

2025

Scottish Government

To reduce all food waste arising in Scotland and work with industry to reduce on-farm losses of edible produce

2025

Scottish Government

We are also tracking key indicators, including:

  • The total amount of waste produced by sectors - household; commerce and industry; and construction and demolition.
  • The amount of waste produced by sectors per unit of GVA.
  • The carbon impact of waste - the whole-life impacts of waste including the benefits of prevention and recycling.

13.3 Priorities

We will continue to build our evidence base to help identify specific circular economy opportunities.

As part of our long term waste data strategy, we intend to refresh Scotland's suite of targets and indicators, incorporating process measures to reflect the development of a more circular economy; and informed by the requirements of the EU Circular Economy package.

We will continue to promote the carbon metric as an alternative to the conventional weight-based waste measurements, with a focus on making it easy to use and communicate. This will include measuring progress on our new food waste reduction target.

To assist us in understanding and articulating the full environmental benefits of a more circular economy, we will work with environmental NGOs and others to explore ways to enhance our suite of measures and indicators.

We will move towards making the use of the electronic "edoc" system mandatory for waste in Scotland and will consider inclusion of transfrontier shipment of waste (particularly in view of the EU Circular Economy package aspirations for electronic data exchange) and hazardous waste.