Campaigners are calling on the Scottish Government to take a more systemic approach to reduce waste, as it launches its second consultation on its route map for waste. The aim of the Waste Route Map, which is expected to be delivered alongside the Circular Economy Bill currently being reviewed by the Scottish Parliament, is to ensure materials are used sustainably. 

The Waste Route Map consultation highlights that the vast majority of Scotland’s emissions come from the products we consume. Campaigners say that the plan must go further in tackling production, not just waste, to help create a circular economy and the resulting job opportunities in Scotland. 

The Scottish Government acknowledges that it has “fallen short” of its current 2025 recycling targets, which are expected to be mostly missed but more action is needed than pushing deadlines back to 2030.

Campaigners are urging the Scottish Government to follow the example of setting targets to reduce domestic climate pollution by creating targets and a corresponding plan to reduce the overall consumption of goods and services. This would begin to address the climate emissions of goods consumed in Scotland but manufactured or disposed of overseas. 

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

“It’s encouraging to see that the Scottish Government recognises the role that our unsustainable levels of consumption plays in the climate crisis but this must be matched by a desire to tackle it. 

“The Waste Route Map does not contain the required urgency or the systematic approach needed to reduce the way we use materials, risking another Scottish Government failure, just as it is failing to meet its 2025 recycling targets.

“What we need to see to make this happen is the introduction of targets to reduce consumption with credible plans to achieve them, so that changes are made on the basis of the impact they will have in reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint. If planned for properly, this will also create new green jobs in Scotland and make existing jobs more sustainable.

“Creating a circular economy presents an enormous opportunity for Scotland to confront the impact we’re having on the planet. It will only create the change we need if the Scottish Government acts with more ambition and more urgency.”

The consultation is open until 15th March 2024.