Scotland proposing zoning of business waste collection as part of Circular Economy Bill consultation

Scottish Circular Economy minister Lorna Slater

The Scottish Government has proposed business waste collection zones in its new Circular Economy Bill consultation.

In the consultation document, Scotland advocates introducing business waste collection zone pilots by 2024.


According to the Route Map of the consultation, the learnings from these pilots would lead to zoning being introduced between 2025 and 2030.

Under these new powers, Scottish Ministers would have powers that would enable local authorities to create zoning areas for commercial waste collections.

The consultation documents said: “Business collection zoning involves contractors competing to undertake all commercial collection in a particular ‘zone’, potentially providing opportunities for greater collaboration, cost savings, service standardisation, reducing traffic, transparent charges and added benefits such as bin weighing, carbon accounting and end-destination reporting as part of the contract. Businesses can also be challenged by the array of commercial waste services available.”

It also noted that WRAP analysis had found businesses could save up to 40% by collaborating on service procurement alongside container and collection optimisation.

When the UK Government published its Extended Producer Responsibility consultation, The Recycling Association warned that zoning could wipe out recycling businesses.

Since then, it has been announced that a taskforce will be set up to look at business waste proposals, and will report back in 2026/7.

Other measures in the Circular Economy Bill in Scotland include:

  • Setting statutory circular economy targets
  • Establishment of a circular economy public body
  • Reduction of waste and reuse of products
  • Banning the destruction of unsold durable goods
  • Environmental charging for single-use items
  • Mandatory requirement for businesses to report surplus and waste figures.

Circular Economy minister Lorna Slater said: “To tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis, we need to rapidly reduce our demand for raw material, increase reuse and repair, and recycle more.

“We must make a circular option the easy option for Scottish households, businesses and the public sector. I want everyone in the country to experience a modern, easy to use waste service that makes it easy for people to do the right thing for the planet.

“We are already taking action, including delivering Scotland’s Deposit Return Scheme and our £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund, but we know we need to move faster if we are to meet our climate obligations. It requires us to be bold, brave, and focused on delivering the actions needed – and this must be a collective effort.

“These consultations set out the key proposed actions and the tools we will put in place to help everyone play their part in cutting waste in our economy, capitalising on the economic opportunities that a circular economy presents to businesses.

“The Circular Economy Bill will give us the powers to cut waste in our economy, while preserving precious resources and protecting our natural environment.”

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