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Sectors: Construction and buildings Circular resource management Bioeconomy

Zero Waste Scotland

Updated on 13.04.2023

Zero Waste Scotland is a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).


Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and materials responsibly and set an example for the world. Our activities accelerate and support Scotland’s just transition to zero waste and a circular economy (CE).

Countries: United Kingdom
Population: 5.500.000
Resource use, flows and materials: To be confirmed

More information

We focus our efforts where we know we can make an impact. This includes:

  • responsible consumption
  • responsible production
  • maximising value from waste

We use our expertise and partnerships to support, influence policy, and encourage national & local government, community leaders, businesses and the public to embrace circular living.

Leading organisation

Zero Waste Scotland


Customer Service & Support/Partnerships team

Main partners/stakeholders

32 Local Authorities and 7 cities (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Perth and Stirling)

Link to existing circular economy action plan

In 2016, ‘Making Things Last’, Scotland's first CE strategy was published by the Scottish Government. It set out priorities for the nation, moving towards a more circular model, where products and materials are kept in high value use for as long as possible. It builds on Scotland’s progress in the zero waste and resource efficiency agendas.


The government believes that an economy that is more circular will benefit the environment by cutting waste and carbon emissions. The government also believe that it can reduce reliance on scarce resources, improve productivity and be a catalyst for business by opening up new markets is also considered. CE can also improve resilience and help communities to access lower cost options for any goods needed and even to develop economic opportunities for social enterprise projects.


The strategy identified four key sectors for Scotland:

  • food and drink, and the broader bio-economy
  • remanufacturing
  • construction and the built environment
  • energy infrastructure (ie the infrastructure needed to transition to a low-carbon energy future)


The strategy includes goals to:

  • to develop a more comprehensive approach to producer responsibility;
  • to reduce all food waste arising in Scotland by 33 % by 2025 and work with industry to reduce on-farm losses of edible produce.


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Other activities

A range of targets and initiatives contribute to the circular agenda in Scotland including:

  • £ 70 000 000 Recycling Improvement Fund, which is administered by Zero Waste Scotland with the purpose of accelerating progress towards 2025 waste and recycling targets and Scotland’s net-zero carbon commitment, by strengthening and improving local authority recycling infrastructure. This will result in increased consistency of collection, improvements to the quality and quantity of material collected, and wider environmental and carbon benefits.
  • Circular Textile Fund to support initiatives that could help Scotland tackle textile pollution and throw-away culture.
  • An evidence-based approach to inform our work with sectors; using that evidence to engage stakeholders on the circular agenda; drive change and influence policy and legislative levers.
  • Extensive, award-winning, consumer-facing campaigns to drive behaviour change, focusing on a range of issues including food waste, patterns of (over) consumption, reusable period products, and littering.
  • The 'Revolve' certification to drive high standards in product reuse.

Link to Circular Systemic Solution

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Circular economy good practices

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Key publications, policies, legislations and initiatives

Scottish Government consulted on a Circular Economy Bill in May 2022 that will introduce powers for the Government to develop legislation to further drive circularity in Scotland.


New regulations are coming into force since 1 June 2022 on single-use plastics. The introduction of market restrictions on certain single-use plastics is another exciting step forward in tackling our throwaway culture and the shift towards a CE in Scotland.


Scotland will launch a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers in 2023.

Support from CSO

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Target territory