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.

Annex 1 - Definitions

Waste Prevention - defined in European Law as:

Measures taken before a substance material or product has become waste, that reduce:

  • the quantity of waste including through the re-use of products or the extension of the lifespan of products;
  • the adverse impacts of the generated waste on the environment or human health;
  • the content of harmful substances in materials and products.

Zero Waste - a concept that relates to waste materials, and encompasses waste prevention, reuse, remanufacturing, recycling, and energy recovery. The focus is on reducing waste however also obtaining the maximum value from waste materials generated so that they can be usefully returned to the economy.

Circular Economy - again relates primarily to materials, and provides an alternative to the current linear model of consumption where virgin materials are extracted, used in manufacturing before being discarded as waste. It includes activities which contribute to zero waste, but there is greater focus is on the flow and ownership of materials in the economy, in order to keep materials in use for as long as possible. A circular economy also requires that water and energy come from renewable resources and that biological materials, such as food waste, are returned to the soil.

Resource Efficiency - wider than just materials, and also covers efficient use of water and energy. The concept is about using the least amount of resources (energy, water and materials) to maximum effect - cutting overheads and improving productivity by creating more with less.

Sustainable Resource Use - covers all environmental resources, encompassing where resources come from and whether they are being used sustainably - i.e. the use of resource today does not limit the use of resources in the future. For natural resources, this means ensuring our use of resources is within the Earth's capacity to renew. Extraction and use of materials is conducted as efficiently as possible and products are reused to their maximum potential.


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