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.

A Circular Economy Bill

The Scottish Government published proposals for a Circular Economy bill in November 2019.  In March 2020, due to the Covid crisis, the Scottish Government announced that they would not be bringing forward the Bill in this parliamentary term.

We are now asking all Parties to commit to a CE bill in the next parliamentary term in their manifestos for the upcoming Hollyrood election.

We want a CE bill to lay the foundations for a comprehensive transition to a more circular economy which reduces our impacts on nature and climate.  To do this, we need to reduce our footprints and we want footprint reduction targets and  a duty to produce plans detailing how footprints will be reduced, obligations on different sectors and how to address problematic materials; to be central to a CE Bill.   See our briefing on the CE.  

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)


Past Events

10th Nov 2020 – We hosted an on-line event: Residual waste – bury, burn or banish. . 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.

14th January 2020We hosted an event: Circular Economy priorities for Scotland in Scottish Parliament 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.


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 project (May 2018 – Oct 2022) 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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