The Net Zero, Energy and Transport committee has today (28 Feb) published a report on a new law to create a circular economy in Scotland. It has recommended that the Scottish Government includes mandatory targets to reduce consumption.

In its official report on the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill, the committee supported evidence presented by environmental campaigners that the legal framework of the bill must be strengthened to create the system-wide changes urgently needed to reduce the impact of Scotland’s consumption on the planet. 

In evidence sessions to the committee, the Scottish Government had argued that there was not enough evidence for such targets. However, in its report the committee noted that Scotland’s carbon footprint data is already published annually by the Scottish Government and could be used as the basis of carbon-based consumption targets.

A circular economy is an economy where materials are properly valued and cycled around our economy for as long as possible by increasing recycling, reusing and repairing. We currently have a linear economy, which we take from nature, use a product maybe once or very few times, then dispose of it.

Consumption targets have significant public support, with 86% of respondents to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the circular economy bill calling for them to be introduced.

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“The Scottish Government needs to take heed of the committee’s recommendations to create mandatory targets. This is a vital step in ensuring the necessary changes are made across our economy to bring our material use to a level that’s less destructive.

“There’s widespread support from environmental groups to use Scotland’s existing carbon footprint data for these targets, which would fit together cohesively with our existing climate targets to result in policies that would truly be better for people and the planet.

“Creating a circular economy is an enormous opportunity for Scotland but the Scottish Government must commit to a more ambitious plan than it has currently set out if these benefits are to be realised.”

The Scottish Parliament is expected to debate and vote on stage 1 of the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill before 8 March 2024.