Scottish Parliament passes Circular Economy Bill

Legislation giving Ministers and local authorities the tools needed to increase reuse and recycling rates, as well as modernise and improve waste and recycling services, has been passed in Scotland on 26th June 2024. The bill passed with 116 votes in favour and no votes against or abstentions.

The Circular Economy Bill will give Ministers the powers to:

  • set local recycling targets building on the experience of Wales, which has the best recycling rate in the UK;
  • set statutory targets for delivery of a circular economy to measure progress in transforming the economy;
  • restrict the disposal of unsold consumer goods, to prevent good products ending up in landfill;
  • place charges on single-use items like disposable cups to encourage the move to reusable alternatives;
  • and give local authorities additional enforcement powers, allowing them to crack down on flytipping and littering from cars.

The measures will be underpinned by support and investment, building on the investments already made through the £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund.

The bill requires Scottish Government to develop and publish a Circular Economy Strategy every five years and to include details on monitoring progress towards the objectives. The strategy must be subject to consultation and be published within 2 years.

The new enforcement measures included in the bill include fixed penalty charges of £200 or civil penalties  for people not following local authority instructions for managing household waste and recycling. Notably, the bill allows councils to issue warnings and civil penalties for households that deliberately contaminate recycling bins.

The bill also requires Scottish Ministers to prepare and publish a code of practice on household waste recycling. This code will provide more detailed guidance for local authorities on implementing effective recycling practices. It can also make provisions on managing the contamination of household waste for recycling or composting.

Further details here.