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.

Process for Developing the Route Map


The Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2020-21[128] and Scotland's Climate Change Plan update in 2020[129] set out our intention to develop the Route Map. The process to develop the Route Map was initiated in 2020, with the development of a scoping document in partnership with Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA, setting out key challenges in meeting the waste targets. We utilised SEPA waste data, previous research by the Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, and other parties, and were supported by experienced policy and research analysts, to develop the scoping content.


Throughout 2021 we analysed our current performance and considered our trajectory towards achieving the targets and undertook an initial diagnosis of the incentives/disincentives (e.g., economic, regulatory, behavioural) that affect all actors in the design, production, consumption, and waste lifecycle stages. We identified those interventions that we consider are working and their likely effect on performance and focused on the identification of other potential interventions which would support progress towards the 2025 targets and beyond. In addition, we identified areas where we considered there was a good range of evidence available, and areas where there were gaps in our collective knowledge.

Pre-consultation Stakeholder Engagement

A long list of possible measures was developed for consideration and this was used as the basis for discussions in a pre-consultation stakeholder engagement process, which was undertaken from October 2021 to January 2022. This provided the opportunity to sense check and validate the diagnosis to date and support the development of proposed interventions for consultation. This process was initiated with an introductory webinar and was followed by a series of group presentations and workshops focusing on the following themes: Product Design and Stewardship; Consumption; Food Waste; Household Recycling; Business and Commerce; Construction and Demolition; and Disposal.

In total 87 stakeholders attended the series of themed sessions, representing 45 unique organisations. As delivery was remote, numbers for the themed sessions were limited to 15-20 participants and priority was given to representative bodies, networks, research groups and membership organisations across the value chain and waste and resource management sector, in order for multiple views to be captured and considered.

Stakeholders were provided with pre-reading for each of the themed sessions and were asked to undertake an offline task. The discussions were focused around considering the challenges to target delivery and opportunities to address these challenges and stimulate progress. The group presentations and workshops were independently facilitated and outputs from the discussions were collated and used to support development and refinement of the interventions for consultation.

An internal review process by Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA then took place to refine the proposals, taking into consideration the requirements for specific actions to support delivery and seeking clarity in terms of appropriate timescales. Specific expertise in relation to each theme was sought to test the thought processes and justifications for each of the interventions. This included further pre-consultation engagement with key stakeholders, including local government and COSLA.

Intervention Impact Estimation Process

The inter-dependency and early stage of development of some of the proposed interventions and measures made it difficult to estimate their potential impact in relation to the targets. Therefore, an approach was taken to set up a Panel[130] of experts to seek their views and provide an estimation of impact either in terms of the reduction of arisings or the increase in recycling rate, at three points in time (2025, 2030 and 2035) to give an idea of how quickly impact would be achieved. Interventions were grouped into packages reflecting where dependency between them was highest, and the method for estimating was based on the Sheffield Elicitation Framework[131]. This information was used to support content development and review the interventions and measures proposed. Qualitative information was also secured from the Panel and again, this was used to help inform content development.

Next stage

Following this consultation process, further refining, consideration and assessments of the proposed interventions and measures will take place, based on the feedback from the consultation, before publication of the final Route Map document.

Island Community Impact Assessment, Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment, Equality Impact Assessment, and Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment have all been undertaken and will be reviewed post consultation. In consultation with statutory consultees, it is our view at this stage that the cumulative environmental effects from the Route Map are likely to be significant and a Strategic Environmental Assessment would therefore be required. Through this consultation we ask for further evidence regarding the environmental impact of proposals, which will help inform the strategic environmental assessment process for the Route Map, in line with legislative requirements.



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