Scotland proposes to ban destruction of unsold goods to drive down waste

Proposals for a ban will be put forward in a consultation on a new Circular Economy Bill to be published in May

Big Zero Report 2022

The destruction of unsold, durable goods could be banned in Scotland as part of the government’s plans to reduce waste and support a circular economy.

Proposals for a ban will be put forward in a consultation on a new Circular Economy Bill to be published in May, according to the Scottish Government.

Retailers could be required to look for other options for unsold products, including donating and recycling them, to address public concerns about unsold products being destroyed or sent to landfill.

France has recently enacted such a ban and the EU is currently considering similar interventions.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said: “It is absolutely senseless for perfectly good products to end up in landfill. Rather than being wasted in landfill or incinerated, they should be reused or repurposed.”

To mark the announcement, the minister visited Fresh Start in Edinburgh, a charity which distributes essential household goods and white goods donated by retailers to help people who have been homeless establish themselves in their new homes.

The minister added: Organisations like Fresh Start show that there is a real need for items like these and with the cost of living increasing this need is growing rapidly.

“We are living in a climate emergency. When goods go to landfill without having even been used once, we don’t just waste the product – we also waste all the energy and raw materials that went into making it.

“This proposal is a direct response to the public concerns about what happens to items that go unsold. By pursuing a ban, we can make sure they make it into the hands of those that need them, and help Scotland reduce its carbon footprint.

“This is the sort of action that’s needed to create a circular economy and shows the level of ambition that will be contained in our proposals in May.”

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