Delivering Scotland's circular economy - route map to 2025 and beyond: technical annex

This annex sets out the evidence base and rationale underpinning the consultation Route Map: Delivering Scotland’s circular economy, identifying our progress to date and the case for further change to meet our waste and recycling targets.


Purpose of Route Map

The Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2020-21[1] and Scotland's Climate Change Plan update in 2020[2] set out our intention to accelerate progress and made a commitment to develop a Route Map to reduce waste and meet our waste and recycling targets for 2025 in a way that maximises carbon saving potential. The Route Map is a strategic plan which, working with partners, allows us to identify how the waste and resources sector will contribute to Scotland journey towards net zero in the period to 2030 and beyond.

Purpose of this annex

This Annex sets out the rationale underpinning the Route Map: Delivering Scotland's circular economy, identifying our progress to date and the case for further change to meet our waste and recycling targets. It provides a transparent rationale and evidence base that underpins the proposed actions and measures identified in the Route Map, and signposts to wider information, evidence, and research.

Scotland's existing waste and recycling targets

The waste and recycling targets are:

  • 15% reduction of all waste, against a 2011 baseline, by 2025
  • 33% reduction of food waste, against a 2013 baseline, by 2025
  • Minimum of 60% recycling of all household waste by 2020
  • Minimum of 70% recycling of all waste by 2025
  • Maximum 5% of all waste to landfill.

Origin of targets

The majority of the targets, based on waste tonnages, were set in the early 2010s along with the publication of the Zero Waste Plan[3] and Safeguarding Scotland's Resources[4]. Over the last decade the acceleration of the climate emergency has intensified the focus on impacts of carbon and we have committed to reducing emissions by 75% by 2030 and to be net zero by 2045. The Route Map will focus on the achievement of the 2025 targets but also consider the longer-term pathway to transform Scotland into a circular economy that will support the vision set out in our Climate Change Plan Update, and EU targets that extend beyond this period. For example in line with our commitment to seek to maintain or exceed EU environmental standards, we have met EU targets for the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill, and for recycling of construction & demolition waste.



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