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.

2. An Economic and Environmental Imperative

Our Government Economic Strategy [2] emphasises the importance of resource efficiency to boost the productivity, competitiveness and resilience of our economy. A recent study [3] also indicated that straightforward resource efficiency measures could mean more than £2.9 billion worth of potential savings to the Scottish economy.

Beyond efficiency savings, there are wider opportunities to stimulate innovation in remanufacturing, and increasingly sophisticated forms of product refurbishment and reuse. The long-term goal is enabling a shift toward designing out wasted materials, energy and pollution, and designing in reassembly or remanufacturing and useable by-products.

Resource Efficiency and a Circular Economy

Figure 2

A series of recent reports by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on creating circular economies concluded that a profound shift in product design and retail could lead to benefits of $2 trillion (£1.3 trillion) globally [4] . Getting our approach right could sizeable new opportunities for innovation, investment and job creation in Scotland, including opportunities to energise manufacturing. Figure 2 summarises the economic opportunities and resource pressures.

Figure 2 Economic concerns and opportunities

Figure 3 Economic concerns and opportunities

The overall thrust of these proposals is therefore to improve Scotland's economic competitiveness, create new business opportunities and reduce our environmental impact by using our resources more efficiently, while laying the foundations for a more circular model of resource use ( Figure 3).

Issues on this scale require an economy-wide approach, so this programme identifies actions for Zero Waste Scotland, SEPA and the Enterprise Agencies, working closely with business, local authorities and others.


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