Scotland sets out proposed measures for its Circular Economy Bill

Businesses, industry and individuals are being encouraged to seize on Scotland’s “talent for innovation” by re-thinking how it can use and reuse materials.

Proposed legislation in the Circular Economy Bill includes measures to cut litter and waste and forms part of wider plans for a new approach to reducing, reusing and recycling materials to help drive Scotland’s circular economy.

An innovative circular economy can improve productivity and open up new markets while providing employment opportunities and lower cost options to access the goods we need

“A thriving circular economy presents enormous economic and industrial opportunities for Scotland, as well as significant environmental benefits,” Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said.

“An estimated 80% of our global climate emissions are currently linked to the production, consumption and waste of products and resources. For our journey towards becoming a net-zero society to be successful, it must involve a fundamental re-think about how we use and reuse materials.

“An innovative circular economy can improve productivity and open up new markets while providing employment opportunities and lower cost options to access the goods we need.”

Circular Economy Bill proposals

Environmental charging

The Scottish Government is proposing a charge on single-use disposable items, which are deemed unnecessary or can be replaced with sustainable alternatives, are problematic to recycle or harmful to the environment.

Scottish Ministers intend that the first items to which the charge will be applied are single-use drinks cups.

Mandatory reporting of waste and unwanted surplus

The Bill proposes Scottish Ministers are given the power to mandate public reporting of waste and surplus. Food and textiles are two priority areas under initial consideration.

Strengthening approach to household recycling collection services

Within the context of the circular economy bill, the Scottish Government is considering the value of a move away from the “voluntary approach” to Scotland’s Household Recycling Charter towards a more “mandated approach”.

This will give Scottish Ministers powers to place further requirements on local authorities regarding household collection services. The intention is that such an approach would help increase the rate and quality of recycling and the provision of more consistent collections across the country, the Scottish Government says.

It is also interested in whether existing obligations on householders are sufficient to encourage engagement in recycling.

Improved enforcement powers

A power has been proposed to enable the relevant Scottish authorities to seize vehicles suspected of waste crime. The intention is to ensure similar legislative provisions exist in Scotland to match those in England and Wales.

It also proposes a new enabling power that will allow a fixed penalty notice to be issued to the registered keeper of a vehicle when a littering offence has been committed from that vehicle.

This will both increase the deterrent effect and the options available to enforcement officers in tackling roadside littering, the Scottish Government says.

Increase the single use carrier bag charge to 10p

The current 5p charge on single use carrier bags will be increased to 10p using existing secondary regulations.

The policy intention is that the higher charge will continue to motivate behaviour change and further reduce the use of single use carrier bags, the consultation document states.

Roseanna Cunningham said: “Responding to the global climate emergency will be a challenge for us all – be it government, business or individuals – and I would strongly encourage everyone to share their views on how we make this journey together.”

Circular Economy: Proposals for Legislation

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