Safeguarding Scotland's Resources is the Scottish Government's programme to reduce waste and create a more productive and circular economy. It forms part of the Government Zero Waste agenda and our economic strategy.
If we keep on consuming on current trends we will need to extract 75% more raw materials in the next 25 years. Most of these are finite resources, and even those that can be renewed have limits on what can be used sustainably.
This situation and the path we are on is clearly unsustainable, not just for our environment, but for our future economic prosperity too. So the actions we are committing to in this programme are designed to safeguard our prosperity by helping Scotland use our planet's precious resources more efficiently.
Our focus is on making an immediate impact - driving deep changes to how we produce and consume products and packaging. The centrepiece of this is the Resource Efficient Scotland programme, which we established in April. This unique service for businesses and public bodies brings together advice and expertise on using of energy, water, and raw materials more efficiently - making it easier for them to get the help they need.
The benefits of taking action today are clear: potentially £2.9bn of savings to businesses and organisations in Scotland from straightforward resource efficiency measures. Eradicating these costs will not only help our economy today, it will make us more competitive in the longer term and increase our resilience to future resource pressures. It is clear to me that the economies which will prosper in the years to come will be those that adapt most quickly and decisively in switching to low carbon and resource efficient systems.
Resource Efficient Scotland will also work strategically, extending collective agreements with key industry sectors and working to change the way we design and use products and services - taking steps to move Scotland towards a circular economy where nothing is wasted.
This programme also includes actions around individual behaviours: including promoting product repair and reuse and introducing a charge to encourage carrier bag reuse, with the money raised going to good causes.
We were grateful for the many responses to our consultation. They gave broad support for our proposals and demonstrated the importance of this programme across business and industry.
This programme is an important step, but its success will depend on how businesses and individuals respond to the challenges we face and the opportunities we want to create. In launching this new programme, we want to galvanise people behind our zero waste vision and to work with us to make it a reality.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment