The Scottish Government has long recognised the benefits of a circular economy approach. In 2016, we launched ‘Making Things Last’, which laid the foundations for action and set out a bold vision for building a circular society in Scotland.
We have set some of the most ambitious targets in Europe driving circularity, aiming to reduce food waste by 33 per cent and to recycle 70 per cent of waste by 2025. Our circular initiatives are helping to stimulate progress internationally and, as a result, Scotland was chosen to host last year’s Circular Economy Hotspot, a major international trade event.
The circular economy represents an enormous economic and industrial opportunity for Scotland, as set out in our Economic and Manufacturing Action Plans. Transforming our economic system to one which regenerates and restores the Earth’s ecosystems rather than one which exploits them has become more urgent because of the climate emergency. It is estimated that four-fifths of Scotland’s global climate emissions are linked to the production, consumption and waste of products and resources.
This consultation document contains our proposals for a circular economy bill, setting a framework for taking action into the future. In our current world, there is no excuse not to take action now if we can. This document therefore also covers proposals where we can use existing powers to act more swiftly through secondary legislation. We have also set out the wide range of other legislative and non-legislative activity that is in progress or is planned.
Scotland has always been an innovator. Responding to the climate emergency will be a challenge and is a national endeavour requiring a concerted effort from all of us, be it government, business or individuals. I believe that the transition to a circular economy will be an important contribution to that endeavour.
I would strongly encourage everyone with an interest in our proposals to respond to this consultation. I wish in advance to thank you for taking the time to do so.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Environment,
Climate Change and Land Reform