Decarbonisation of residual waste infrastructure: Scottish Government response

Our initial response to the second report on the decarbonisation of residual waste infrastructure in Scotland. The second report followed on from Stop, Sort, Burn, Bury? - the recommendations of the independent review of the role of incineration in the waste hierarchy.

Ministerial Foreword

As the Minister responsible for Circular Economy, I am pleased to publish the Scottish Government's response to Stop, Sort, Burn, Bury? Second Report: Decarbonisation of Residual Waste Infrastructure in Scotland.

A circular approach to our economy, where we move from a 'take, make, and dispose' model, to one where we keep materials in use, is imperative if we are to tackle the nature and climate crises.

Scotland produces around 4.4 million tonnes of residual waste, that is 'black bag waste' sent to landfill or incineration each year, and the generation and management of Scotland's household waste alone is responsible for 5.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e). This simply isn't sustainable and we must change.

Moving to a circular economy is first and foremost about reducing consumption, maintaining the value of materials by repairing and reusing items and recycling materials when they cannot be repaired or reused. We are taking action to accelerate our circular economy transition. We will be bringing forward a Circular Economy Bill this parliamentary term that will establish the legislative framework to support Scotland's transition to a zero waste and circular economy, significantly increase reuse and recycling rates, and modernise and improve waste and recycling services. This year we will also publish a Waste & Circular Economy Route Map that will set out how we intend to deliver our system-wide, comprehensive vision for Scotland's circular economy.

While we make the transition to a circular economy, we need to ensure that we treat the residual waste we do produce in a way that minimises environmental impacts and is firmly aligned with our emissions reduction ambitions.

I am grateful to Dr Church for extending his role as Independent Chair of the Review to oversee the important work to consider options to decarbonise the residual waste sector. I would also like to once again thank all those who shared their views, evidence and experience with Dr Church and the review team. The second report has provided a robust consideration of options and a set of recommendations that will inform policy decisions to reduce the impact of Scotland's residual waste and support us on our journey towards a circular economy.

Lorna Slater MSP

Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity



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