Safeguarding Scotland's resources: blueprint for a more resource-efficient and circular economy

Our programme to reduce waste and create a more productive and circular economy. Part of the Zero Waste agenda and economic strategy.

Executive Summary

'Safeguarding Scotland's resources - building a more efficient and circular economy' is our programme to reduce waste and deliver economic and environmental benefits - to position Scotland to respond to major global pressures and opportunities.

Global trends

Our current model of production and consumption is not as efficient as it could be. Few products are designed with reuse in mind, and we produce large quantities of waste materials, energy and water.

This programme aims to make today's model of production and consumption more resource efficient (doing more with less, and minimising waste), while also laying the foundations for a more circular model of resource use: a circular economy.

In a circular economy, we keep products and materials in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate new products and materials at the end of each service life. This requires a shift in the traditional production-consumption approach: designing for disassembly or remanufacturing and useable by-products, and designing out wasted energy, materials and pollution.

The overall aim of this programme is to prevent waste, increase resource efficiency and enable a shift towards a more circular economy.

Our target is to reduce Scotland's waste by 7% by 2017 from 2011 levels, and we want to achieve a 15% reduction by 2025.

Issues on this scale require an economy-wide approach, so the following (including new and continuing activities) are for Zero Waste Scotland, SEPA and the Enterprise Agencies, working closely with business, local authorities and others.

Helping businesses use resources more efficiently:

  • Primarily through Resource Efficient Scotland, established earlier this year, bringing together expertise on managing energy, water and materials to make it easier for businesses and organisations access support and make savings ( Action 1).
  • Enabling collective action in priority sectors through voluntary agreements ( Action 2).
  • Establishing Resource Efficiency Pledges to build momentum and help Scottish companies take the credit for their actions ( Action 3).
  • Preventing construction wastes ( Action 4).
  • Developing information and tools for businesses to help them make resource efficiency savings ( Actions 5 and 6).

Stimulating innovation and business opportunities in reuse, refurbishment and remanufacturing:

  • Engaging with business and establishing an early adopter network of companies to help share good practice ( Action 7).
  • Extending a loan fund to support reprocessing and remanufacturing ( Action 8).
  • Harnessing public procurement to stimulate innovation ( Action 9).
  • Gathering evidence on the opportunities for Scotland from a deep shift towards a more circular economy ( Action 10).
  • Increasing the supply and demand for quality reusable items ( Action 11).
  • Supporting the growth of refurbishment and remanufacturing businesses and investigating the viability of alternative business models/services ( Action 12).

Promoting sustainable product design:

  • including via Resource Efficient Scotland support and facilitating business collaboration through the Product Sustainability Forum ( Action 13).

Improving producer responsibility and reducing the impacts of packaging:

  • Looking at future options for producer responsibility systems for end-of life products ( Action 14).
  • Trialling innovative collection of small waste electronic and electrical equipment to capture valuable materials and expand reuse ( Action 15).
  • Evaluate the 'Recycle and Reward' pilots of deposit return and reverse vending systems and examine the feasibility of a national deposit-return scheme to reduce litter and improve recycling ( Action 16).

Improving information on materials:

  • Understanding how materials, including critical materials, move through our economy to help business and government identify opportunities and adapt to constraints ( Action 17).

Stimulating a culture of resource efficiency by influencing behaviour:

  • Targeting public engagement to support this programme. And supporting teachers to equip school leavers with the relevant skills ( Action 18).
  • Continuing to promote community action to prevent waste ( Action 19).
  • Requiring retailers to charge for carrier bags from October 2014 to reduce the number of bags used in Scotland - promoting reuse and reducing litter; with a voluntary agreement that net proceeds will be donated to charitable good causes, including for waste and litter prevention ( Action 20).


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