Climate and sustainability groups from across Scotland staged a fashion show of upcycled outfits outside the Scottish Parliament today (22 February), to call on MSPs to support the Circular Economy Bill that’s being debated soon. 

Models took to the catwalk in outfits including a dress made of bike inner tubes to highlight that 65% of our clothing is made from fossil fuel-based plastic, a cape made from plastic bottles collected from beach litter, and an electric cable headdress to highlight the impacts of mining for metals and lack of repair opportunities for electronic waste in Scotland. 

The new law could change the way we use materials, driving action to reduce the amount we take from nature by keeping materials in use for as long as possible.  

The groups sought to remind MSPs that to create a circular economy, everyone in Scotland needs access to repair and reuse services, as well as high-quality recycling services. Campaigners highlighted that systematic change is needed from the Scottish Government to make all the products we buy more sustainable and ensure big businesses are required to clean up the products they sell. 

There are many organisations across Scotland trying to tackle this issue at a grassroots level, and they are calling for greater support to deliver on action that brings down climate emissions and builds community. 

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

“Valuing our materials properly is essential to reduce the environmental destruction we’re causing, and as we’ve seen today it can be the jumping off point for so much creativity and community.  

“The Circular Economy Bill is an exciting opportunity for Scotland to make real progress and build on the great work that is already happening. Reuse and repair offer people the chance to make affordable and green choices but far too few people have access to these services and those providing them need better support.  

“We are currently using materials in a way that is driving climate breakdown whether that is single use plastics, electronic gadgets that break too soon or fast fashion piling up in landfill. Around half of Scotland’s emissions are not tackled by our existing climate targets because they don’t include imports. If consumption targets were brought in under the new circular economy law, Scotland would finally start taking responsibility for its global impact.” 

Kim Blasco, from Plastic-free Scotland Communities said: 

 “Plastic-free communities throughout Scotland are striving to promote circular behaviour among local businesses and the wider public. People are hearing the message and  behaviour change is happening, but not fast enough or at the scale necessary to tackle the urgent climate crisis. The Scottish Government must require businesses to embed circularity in the goods and services they provide, and a strong Circular Economy Bill is key to making this happen.” 

Franciele Sobierai,  Communities Reduce Reuse and Recycle Project Coordinator at Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council said: 

 “With the climate crisis getting worse, the need for a strong circular economy bill increases. We must shift away from rampant consumerism and redirect our efforts towards stronger communities which reuse and repair organisations can offer. 

“Reuse organisations need more support from the Scottish Government. These efforts play a pivotal role in protecting our environment and helping people make more sustainable choices. 

“Creating inclusive, diverse communities is vital to the fight against climate change. By empowering marginalised groups on our society through networks such as those created by community reuse projects, we can create a path towards a more environmentally conscious and inclusive future.” 

List of orgs in the showcase: 

Friends of the Earth Scotland, Communities Reduce Reuse and Recycle Project, Edinburgh & Lothians Regional Equality Council (ELREC), Plastic-Free Scotland Communities, Edinburgh Street Stitchers, Shrub, Re-set Scenery, Refashion Scotland, Circular Design Synergy, Marine Conservation Society and Circular Communities Scotland.

Circular Economy Bill FAQs

Briefing on the Circular Economy Bill  

Circular Economy Bill as introduced