Scotland launches first step in creating circular economy strategy

by Search Gate staff. Published Thu 20 Aug 2015 14:34, Last updated: 2015-08-20
Scotland launches consultation on policy of making things last
Scotland launches consultation on policy of making things last

Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has today launched a consultation on creating a more circular economy in Scotland – where products and materials are kept in high value use for as long as possible.

The consultation, which will run until the 30th October 2015, is the first step in preparing a circular economy strategy for Scotland - targeting significant potential benefits for the economy, through using resources more efficiently, creating new markets and improving resilience; for the environment, through cutting waste and carbon emissions; and for communities, with lower cost ways to access the goods we need.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes and around 30 per cent of clothing or 1.7 billion items in our wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year. The cost of this unused clothing in Scotland is around £2.5 billion.

"In a world of finite resources, where global population and consumption growth are generating volatility and vulnerability in the supply of raw materials, the circular economy approach offers a new and exciting perspective.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to making things last – whether that be designing complex products to enable remanufacture, or quite simply empowering people to repair household items instead of throwing them away, the concept makes sense for business, industry, the public sector and individuals.

“I am looking forward to hearing people’s views in shaping Scotland’s steps towards a more circular economy. It will conserve our finite resources, help support jobs in our communities, improve our quality of life, and it just makes good sense.”

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA, said: “In the 21st Century, no society producing a lot of waste will have a successful economy. This consultation opens up discussion about the way in which we maximise the value and benefits from resources, improve our approach to waste and allow Scotland to lay the foundation for a more resource efficient, circular economy. By working with the Scottish Government and others to develop this strategy, we hope it will help to highlight the true value of our resources and encourage businesses to operate in a more sustainable way.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland said: “Aiming to move away from our current ‘make, use, and dispose’ way of life, a circular economy aims to create a society where it’s easier for us all to make the most of what we have. For example, in a circular economy, the leasing, lending, and sharing of things, such as clothing, tools, and toys, could become the norm.

“Zero Waste Scotland recently asked people across Scotland for their ideas on how we could #MakeThingsLast and help end our throwaway society. It was great to see so many people get involved, and I’d urge everyone to contribute their thoughts to the Scottish Government’s consultation. This is our chance to see Scotland adopt some game-changing, and world-leading, initiatives, ultimately helping us to create a more sustainable Scotland for future generations.”

Linda Hanna, Managing Director Strategy & Sectors, said: “Scottish Enterprise welcomes the Scottish Government’s Circular Economy consultation. Moving towards a Circular Economy can offer significant benefits to companies, sectors and Scotland’s economy overall in terms of boosting productivity, innovation, job creation and economic growth. Remanufacturing, for example, is estimated to already contribute £1.1 billion to the Scottish economy, and could grow by up to an additional £620million and 5,700 jobs by 2020 if Scotland fully embraces Circular Economy principles.”

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Moving towards a circular economy is the next logical step in delivering a Zero Waste Scotland. It will help us use materials more efficiently, reduce climate emissions and create local jobs.

“There are many welcome ideas in this consultation from better product design to encouraging new networks of repair businesses and from safeguarding the quality of materials collected for recycling to cracking down on the dumping of old mattresses.

“After a previous strong report on the feasibility of deposit systems for packaging it is disappointing that the government is proposing yet more research rather than committing now to introduce the kind of system that already works well in other countries.

“The document mentions incineration as a last resort option but the forward-thinking ideas proposed need to be introduced quickly if Scotland is to avoid building a number of new incinerators, which would lock us in to wasteful patterns of consumption for decades.”

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