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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

Destruction of unsold goods could be banned in Scotland

The destruction of unsold, durable goods could be banned in Scotland as part of plans to reduce waste, the Scottish government has said.

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

It is intended to address public concerns about unsold products being destroyed or ending up in landfill.

Retailers may have to look for other options for unsold products, including donation and recycling.

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

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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, she is visiting the Fresh Start charity in Edinburgh. It distributes essential household goods and white goods donated by retailers as part of their work to help people who have been homeless to establish themselves in their new home.

"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," Ms Slater said.

"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.

"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."

She added: "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."

Michael Cook, chief executive of Circular Communities Scotland said: "We have been campaigning for a ban on companies destroying products which could easily be repurposed for some time and, therefore, welcome, and fully support this proposal.

"Circular Communities Scotland represents a range of impressive charities and social enterprises providing a whole variety of creative alternatives for materials considered waste or surplus. This bill validates their significant contribution towards establishing a more circular economy in Scotland."

In January, Amazon pledged to donate thousands of surplus goods to struggling families in Fife after it was criticised last year for the alleged destruction of stock - although the firm said recycling was its priority.

And this week, parents in Oban managed to save almost 2,000 Gaelic books from a skip where they had been dumped. Some of the books, which included children's literature and educational material, were new and still in their wrapping.

What is the Circular Economy Bill?

In simple terms, a circular economy means that products are made from recycled materials, and they themselves are intended to be easily reused or recycled. Hence a circle is formed.

A circular economy is a key component of the Scottish government's response to the climate crisis, aiming to reduce waste and keep products and materials in use for as long as possible.

Its Circular Economy Bill consultation will launch in May, alongside a consultation on new measures to achieve Scotland's 2025 waste and recycling targets.

France has already introduced a ban on companies destroying clothes, cosmetics, hygiene products, electrical items and other unsold or returned items.

Original article: here

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