LEGISLATION to tackle waste and improve recycling rates has been published by the Scottish Government, including powers which would give local authorities more ability to crack down on fly-tipping.

The Circular Economy Bill will give ministers the power to set local recycling targets, ban the disposal of unsold consumer goods, and place charges on single-use items such as coffee cups to encourage consumers to move to reusable alternatives.

Lorna Slater, the Circular Economy Minister, said the bill would help Scotland tackle “throwaway culture”.

She said: “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.

“The Circular Economy Bill with give local Councils and the Scottish Government the powers they need to transform our economy and tackle throwaway culture.

“Of course, the best way of tackling waste is to not create it in the first place.

“There are huge economic opportunities in the circular economy and we have already seen businesses in Scotland creating jobs by turning what we might otherwise throw away into valuable new products and services.

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“This legislation will support the growth of more green businesses and community organisations while cutting waste and climate emissions.”

The Scottish Government will also work with local authorities to co-design an updated national Code of Practice for household waste recycling.

The bill may also introduce a penalty for littering while in a car.

Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said the bill has the potential to make a "big difference to Scotland's impact on the planet". 

She said: "Moving to a circular economy is about much more than just improving our recycling.

"Strong consumption targets would mean policies to encourage producers to make products last for longer, ensure they are easy to repair, choose lower-carbon materials, and to shift consumption patterns away from carbon-intensive goods and services goods and services.

"With the right policies, circular economy measures will also create thousands of decent green jobs in Scotland.

“The Scottish Parliament must be bold and decisive to create the change the threat of climate breakdown demands. We need to see MSPs from all parties working together to ensure the Circular Economy Bill is as strong as possible." 

It comes after the Deposit Return Scheme, which would have seen consumers pay a small deposit on drinks sold in single-use containers, was once again delayed after the UK Government withheld permission for glass to be included in the scheme.