Circular Scotland

Campaigning for a strong circular economy bill

A circular economy for a fairer footprint

It is really important to move to an economy that is more circular. Our climate and ecological emergencies are closely linked to the quantity of products that we use and consume, how they are made and how they are disposed of. We need to re-programme our economy to extract less from the planet, re-use what we’ve already taken and reduce our waste. We need products that are made to last, are easy to repair and can be re-used many times; materials must be recyclable and we need to regenerate our damaged natural systems. Producers and retailers need to be responsible for the whole life cycle impact of their products and we need governments to lead the way with a comprehensive and cross-cutting agenda on making our economy more circular.

Take action on single-use plastics!

Please consider responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on banning a number of single-use plastic items. Our guide provides some suggestions for answering the questions in the consultation.
Plastics are a ubiquitous and growing source of pollution in the terrestrial and marine environment, and are a source of greenhouse gases. Reducing the production and consumption of plastics is an urgent priority.
Single-use plastics come in a multitude of forms. We need to tackle them in order of priority according to the environmental threat they pose, their use value and the availability of alternatives.

Survey shows strong support for circular economy, May 2020

A Scottish Environment LINK survey shows the public want a less wasteful economy with lighter demands on the planet; where products are easy to repair, businesses are responsible and the Government leads the way. These findings have come at a critical time, with Governments now considering how best to stimulate the economy as part of the Covid recovery. Please see the press release and survey report

Survey report: Public attitudes on circular economy ( May 2020)

Scottish public want a less wasteful economy (press release, June 2020)


On-line event: Residual waste – bury, burn or banish, 10th Nov 2020. Slides: Janet McVea, Scottish Government: Plans for 2025 targets and beyond; Michael Lenaghan, Zero Waste Scotland: The carbon impact of waste incineration; Enzo Favoino, Zero Waste Europe: A bridge strategy for optimised management of residuals; Jane Cherrington, Clean Green Future: Taking an ‘all Wales’ approach to reducing residual waste.

Circular Economy priorities for Scotland, 14th January 2020, Scottish Parliament.  An event hosted by Scottish Environment LINK and sponsored by Angus MacDonald MSP. A summary report is available with a link through to the presentation slides.  The event was filmed and videos are available to watch – Professor John Barrett, Dr Richard Dixon, Penelope Vincent-SweetQuestions and Discussions.

A Circular Economy Bill

The Scottish Government published their proposals for a Circular Economy bill in November 2019.  There was a consultation on these proposals which closed in December 2019 (The LINK response can be found below in key outputs).  In March, due to the Covid crisis, the Scottish Government announced that they would not be bringing forward the Circular Economy Bill in this parliamentary term.

Outputs 2020

Consultation response: Introducing market restrictions on problematic single-use plastic items (Dec 2020)

A circular Scotland: briefing paper (Nov 2020)

Circular economy proposals for Scotland’s Climate Change Plan   (Oct 2020)

Circular economy evidence to ECCLR on green recovery    (August 2020)

Please note, circular economy asks are also embedded in other LINK outputs on green recovery and the economy – see the LINK homepage for publications.

A Circular Economy for a Fairer Footprint – background

This three year project (May 2018 – May 2021) aims to reduce our consumption of planetary resources. Unsustainable resource consumption is one of the main drivers of environmental degradation and biodiversity loss.

A circular economy (CE) is an alternative to a linear economy. A linear economy, which has increasingly characterised our economy in recent decades, follows an extract, make, use, dispose pattern. In contrast, a more circular economy aims to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use and recovering products and materials from them at the end of each service life. In a world of finite resources, the CE offers a system whereby we can reduce our demand on the planet’s resources and foster a more resilient economy.

The Scottish Government published its a CE strategy, Making Things Last, in 2016. The Programme for Government for 2019 – 20 announced a CE Bill.

The Circular Economy for a Fairer Footprint project is working with partners to press for a comprehensive and ambitious CE Bill with consumption reduction targets at its heart.

LINK is grateful to the Friends Provident Foundation for their 3 year grant in support of this project.

For any questions please contact Phoebe Cochrane, Sustainable Economics Officer, Email Phoebe


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