Today (28 July) marks Earth Overshoot Day – the day when humanity’s demand for ecological resources exceeds what the Earth can generate that year. In Scotland, our consumption of materials is more than double our fair share of the Earth’s resources. 

Scotland’s material footprint is 18 tonnes per person. Experts suggest that we can live sustainable, high quality lives with eight tonnes per person, by moving to a circular economy where materials are reused and recycled as much as possible.

The Scottish Government is currently planning a law to support the creation of a circular economy in Scotland, where materials are properly valued and cycled around our economy for longer by increasing recycling, reusing and repairing. 

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “It’s shocking and distressing that we’ve reached Earth Overshoot Day so early in the year. Scotland is not doing nearly enough to reduce our use of materials to sustainable levels. We need to make significant changes to the way we use materials – and fast.

“Right now, we have the opportunity to create a  future within planetary limits with the introduction of a new circular economy law. Targets to reduce our consumption to sustainable levels must be at the heart of the new law. 

“The Scottish Government must be bold and embed circularity throughout all of Scotland’s  economic sectors and every level of government.”

Find out more about what Friends of the Earth Scotland wants to see in the circular economy law and share your views at www.act.foe.scot/circulareconomy 

Earth Overshoot Day


Friends of the Earth Scotland, the case for consumption targets


Scottish Government (2022) Scotland’s carbon footprint


Zero Waste Scotland (2021) Material Flow Accounts