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Monday, July 15, 2024

Holyrood Committee Calls for Systems-Wide Change to Achieve a Circular Economy

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A Holyrood Committee has today welcomed the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill but said that the Bill on its own is not enough to make the systems-wide changes needed to create a truly circular economy.

The Net Zero, Energy & Transport Committee says the Scottish Government must look at additional opportunities to act.

In particular, the Committee says that tackling consumption and encouraging repair and reuse should be given further prominence in the Bill.

The report makes a number of recommendations to help Scotland move to a circular economy which would cut waste, carbon emissions and pressures on the natural environment.

In recognition of the scale and urgency of action required to deliver a circular economy, the report says the setting of targets should be an obligation of the Scottish Government, not an option.

In order to support people to properly dispose of their household waste, the Committee recommends a uniform approach to kerbside collections across Scotland be brought forward to help the public recycle more.  

The report also makes clear that plans within the Bill to introduce additional charging for single-use items must go hand in hand with proposals to encourage more use of reusable items, making this the social norm and a positive choice.

The Committee believes that the costs for change must not all be borne by the consumer, and that producers have a huge role to play in reducing waste.

Committee Convener, Edward Mountain MSP said:

“The aims of this Bill are well intended and will, on the whole, have positive impact.

“But with an estimated 98% of Scotland’s material use derived from virgin materials, progress towards a circular economy must pick up pace.

“We need fundamental systems-change which realises the value of products and supports reuse, repair and recycling.

“The Bill is a step in the right direction – both speeding up the process and helping to establish circularity as society’s new ‘norm’.

“This is a wide-ranging Bill, which will affect individuals, businesses and communities.

“Making important changes, such as making recycling bins the same colour across Scotland, would have a huge impact on behaviour and make a real difference.”

The Committee also welcomes measures to reduce fly-tipping and littering but emphasises that penalties must be proportionate and given only when other options have been exhausted.

Because this is largely ‘framework’ legislation, the Committee says that the Scottish Parliament must be given more time to scrutinise and consult, at times widely, upon future regulations brought in by the Scottish Government as a result of the Bill’s enabling powers.

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