Towards a Circular Economy

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Delivering for Scotland #56: Waste Reduction

The SNP Scottish Government has pursued a number of long-term initiatives aimed at tackling our throwaway culture and encouraging a circular economy – helping people to reduce, reuse and recycle. This is  vital to our green recovery and ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change completely.

Under the SNP, carbon emissions from Scotland’s waste have reached a record low. Household recycling is at its highest ever levels, exceeding the amount of waste sent to landfill for the first time ever in 2017.

The SNP Scottish Government introduced the Waste (Scotland) Regulations, which require all businesses and organisations to separate key materials for recycling. Most food businesses are also required to separate food waste collection.

In 2014, the 5p charge for plastic carrier bags was introduced, which saw carrier bag use reduced by 80% by the following year. This charge will now be doubled to 10p from April of this year, with a periodic increase in the charge further encouraging the use of reusable options instead.

Building on the success of the plastic bag charge, the SNP Scottish Government is also introducing an ambitious new Deposit Return Scheme set to go live next year, with shops which sell drinks set to offer 20p deposit refunds to customers. The first national scheme of its type in the UK, it will include aluminium and steel cans, glass bottles and PET plastic containers.

Furthermore, a consultation was launched late last year on banning some of the most environmentally damaging single-use plastic items in Scotland – including plastic plates, straws, cutlery, polystyrene food and drink containers, plastic balloon sticks and products made from oxo-degradable plastics. Scotland under the SNP was already the first country in the UK to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds.