Circular Scotland

Campaigning for a strong circular economy bill

A circular economy for a fairer footprintAn infographic about circular economy.

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 the way in which they are disposed. 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 should 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 and Route map

The Scottish Government consulted on proposals for a circular economy bill and a draft circular economy route map in 2022.   The suggestions put forward in these consultations will help make Scotland’s economy more circular and less wasteful although we thought they could have been more ambitious.   You can find our responses linked in the Outputs section below.  The Scottish Government has published an analysis of the responses to the Bill proposals and the next stage is a draft bill lodged with parliament some time before summer recess.  There will also be an updated CE route map published, but we don’t know when.  

 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)

Can Sarah fix her relationship with stuff?

Watch our campaign film


Past Events

Materials Matter – A Circular Economy bill for Scotland – have your say.  June 2022. Joint LINK and Friends of the Earth Scotland discussing the Scottish Government proposals for a circular economy bill and route map.  Slides and summary report.

Roundtable event discussing the question: How to deliver reductions in Scotland’s material footprint and the approaches and policies / legislation neededMarch 2022.  Summary note

The role of Material Use in Mitigating Climate Change  June 2021. Organised by Scottish Environment LINK and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland.   This event heard from experts and explained why a focus on materials is important, which materials and products have the biggest impact, how these might be addressed and how climate change policy needs to broaden out if we are to really ‘end our contribution’ to climate change by 2050.  Speakers: Prof. John Barrett, University of Leeds: slides ,  Matthew Fraser, Lead, Circularity Gap Reporting Initiative: slides , Kim Pratt, Zero Waste Scotland: slides

Residual waste – bury, burn or banish,  Nov 2020.  Speakers: 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, Jan 2020.  This event was held in the 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.

Pathways to a circular and resource efficient Scotland, December 2018.  Seminar report.


Is Scotland being left behind in the transition to  circular economy (Phoebe Cochrane, March 2023)

A nature positive economy needs to be circular (Phoebe Cochrane, January 2023)

Materials matter: have your say on a circular economy for Scotland (Phoebe Cochrane, July 2022)

Wake up call (Phoebe Cochrane, April 2022)

Circular Economy proposals to be announced in May – will they be up to the job? (Phoebe Cochrane, March 2022) 

Goodbye to single-use plastic cutlery and plates (Phoebe Cochrane, November 2021)

Circular economy is the way forward for Scotland (Phoebe Cochrane, September 2021)

Wiser use of materials holds the key to mitigating climate change  (Phoebe Cochrane, July 2021) 

Reusable nappies and how they can address Scotland’s single-use plastic challenge(Guy Schanschieff, Chair of Nappy Alliance, April 2021)

Sunak’s Plastic Packaging Tax is good news, but government must do much more to reduce waste (Phoebe Cochrane, March 2021)

Scotland must follow EU lead in consumption reduction (Phoebe Cochrane, February 2021)

Are repairs making a comeback? (Carla Worth, Dec 2020)

Why repair is a key part of a circular economy and a green recovery  (Sophie Unwin, Oct 2020)

Incineration of waste continues to soar – is this the right direction?   (Phoebe Cochrane, Oct 2020)

Can we shift from ‘fast fashion to a more circular textiles industry    (Rob Snaith, Sept 2020)

Turn Greed to Green  (James Curran, Sept 2020)

Scotland needs to embrace re-use as we seek to recover from Covid 19 (Michael Cook, July 2020)

Educating Scotland’s school children for a CE (Mary Michel, July 2020)

Why a more circular Scotland needs to be part of the economic recovery (Phoebe Cochrane, July 2020)

Time to rethink our relationship with plastics  (June,2020)

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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