Last week, Scotland announced bold new targets to reduce waste over the next 10-15 years. Environment secretary Richard Lochhead described the Scottish Food Waste Reduction Target as ‘the first of its kind in Europe,’ placing Scotland ahead of the game in efforts towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal of halving food waste by 2030. This pledge to reduce food waste is the main focus of a wider recycling strategy called Making Things Last, designed to encourage businesses and consumers to repair and reuse their goods, and end Scotland’s ‘throwaway culture.’
Mr Lochhead said: ‘Household food waste in Scotland has decreased by an estimated 37,000 tonnes per year – 5.7% overall – since 2009, saving households across the country a staggering £92 million a year. ‘That’s a great start but I want to see more done, which is why I have set this target today.’ Mr Lochhead announced the new strategy during a visit to Edinburgh with EU environment commissioner Karmenu Vella. Mr Vella said: ‘The commission also has ambitious plans for a more circular economy and we looking forward to working with Scotland to help “Make Things Last” and turn a circular economy into a reality.’
But how is Scotland going to make this happen? The recent household food waste figures show that Scottish homes are already on board with reducing waste (and costs), and the ambitious target is going to get a massive helping hand in implementation from Zero Waste Scotland.
The Making Things Last strategy states: ‘Scotland’s enterprise agencies will make circular economy approaches a new focus for their innovation support and Zero Waste Scotland will establish a new support service, working closely with the enterprise agencies, to help businesses adopt these approaches.’
The strategy also aims to reduce on-farm loss of edible produce, something that we’ve been hearing a lot about lately via pioneering French efforts and ‘wonky vegetable’ sales here in the UK (see last week’s e-news for more on that). But the Making Things Last goals are broader than just preventing the staggering amount of food that goes to waste – the strategy is really fighting back against the whole trend of planned obsolescence, in stark contrast to recent rumours about a certain company’s plans to stop using universal headphone jacks.
From the strategy’s executive summary: ‘We want more products to be designed for longer lifetimes, ready to be disassembled, repaired and eventually recycled; with more companies keeping hold of valuable products and components through leasing, servicing, repair and re-sale. We want second hand goods to become a good value, mainstream, option – helping reuse-businesses and community organisations to thrive.’ [emphasis added]