Independent review of the role of incineration in the waste hierarchy: Scottish Government response

Our initial response to Stop, Sort, Burn, Bury? - the recommendations of the independent review of the role of incineration in the waste hierarchy in Scotland.

Ministerial Foreword

Lorna Slater MSP
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

As the Minister responsible for Circular Economy, I am pleased to publish the Scottish Government's response to Stop, Sort, Burn, Bury? The Independent Review of the Role of Incineration in the Waste Hierarchy 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. My first eight months in this role have underlined the importance of this mission, and the commitment of all across Scotland - but also the challenges of making it a reality.

Each year Scotland produces around 4.5 million tonnes of residual waste, that is waste that is sent to landfill or incineration, such as 'black bag' waste. This is particularly shocking when we know that around four-fifths of Scotland's carbon footprint comes from the products and services we manufacture, use and throw away. We also know that 90% of global biodiversity loss and water stress is caused by resource extraction and processing. I am clear this isn't sustainable, and we must change. As our Environment Strategy sets out, if everyone lived as we do in Scotland we would need three planets to sustain ourselves.

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

I am grateful to Dr Church for undertaking the Review in an inclusive manner and delivering a high-quality report, and would like to thank all those who provided evidence, took part in discussions or shared their experiences. It has provided us with a robust evidence base and recommendations that will now inform policy decisions and guide how we manage and reduce Scotland's residual waste, supporting us on our journey towards a circular economy.

Lorna Slater MSP
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity



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