As the Minister responsible for circular economy, I am delighted to present these complementary consultations on our proposals for a Route Map to deliver a circular economy in Scotland and on proposals for legislation in a Circular Economy Bill. A circular approach to our economy, where we move from a "take, make and dispose" model to one where we keep materials in use, is imperative if we are to tackle the climate and nature crises. My first eight months in this role have underlined the importance of this mission, and the commitment of all across Scotland - but also the challenges of making it a reality.
The Route Map sets out how we intend to deliver our system-wide, comprehensive vision for Scotland's Circular Economy. It outlines the tangible actions the Scottish Government and others must take to accelerate progress, and the tools we will put in place to enable everyone to play their part. Our proposals for legislation will provide us with the powers we need to do so.
Around four fifths of Scotland's carbon footprint comes from the products and services we manufacture, use and throw away. We also know that 90% of global biodiversity loss and water stress is caused by resource extraction and processing. I am clear this isn't sustainable, and we must change. As our Environment Strategy sets out, if everyone lived as we do in Scotland we would need three planets to sustain ourselves.
Scotland has made strong progress in reducing emissions in the waste and resources sector over the past 20 years, and we have taken significant strides in our efforts to tackle Scotland's throwaway culture and promote recycling. The Bill will increase the levers we have available to us and the Route Map sets out actions to accelerate progress within devolved competence, but some of the policy measures required to drive the transition to a fully circular economy are dependent upon UK Government action. We are working with the UK Government and other Devolved Administrations on some key measures, like reform of the packaging producer responsibility system, but it is vital the UK Government steps up to accelerate action.
However, to cut our emissions significantly and meet our ambitious waste and recycling targets, we must accelerate action across society to reduce the demand for raw material in products and encourage reuse and repairs through responsible production and consumption, and recycle waste and energy to maximise the value of any waste that is generated.
I know that a circular economy is not only about protecting our natural environment nor is it just about waste management and cutting our emissions. It holds huge opportunities for our economy, by improving productivity and opening up new markets, and for our communities by providing local employment and access to the goods we need. And a more circular economy is also more self-sufficient – it reduces our reliance on imported goods and materials, and provides increased economic resilience.
Delivering this vision requires radical action over the next decade, and I recognise that these changes must be delivered in a managed and fair way, working closely with communities. To move to a circular economy, we need to make the circular option the easy option. The change we want to see can only be achieved through a joint effort with everyone playing their part – government, businesses, and the people of Scotland.
These consultations are the start of a national conversation on how we deliver these ambitions. It requires us to be bold, brave and focused on delivering the actions needed.
I am determined that Scotland will lead the way, and I invite everyone to take part in this consultation. By reducing waste and delivering a circular economy, we will create a fairer, greener, stronger Scotland for everyone.
Lorna Slater MSP
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity
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