Resources and waste

We are growing ever more aware that the world’s resource are finite. And yet we consume goods, food, commodities with little appreciation of the processes and energy required to produce them, or how they may be utilised later. While progress is being made to reduce waste and increase recycling in Scotland, our models of production and consumption are not as efficient as it could be.

We also need to consider how we use, re-use and recycle the elements that make up our built environment.  Our built environment is part of our heritage and culture and feeds into our sense of belonging to a place.  However, buildings are often demolished without consideration of the carbon and energy embodied within the materials, not the environmental impacts of creating waste and the need to construct replacement buildings. 

Widespread culture and behaviour change and a multiagency approach is needed to support a circular economy. We need to ask if we can re-use or recycle materials or buildings rather construct new ones that will increase our energy and carbon consumption.  In doing so, we can bring about wide spread economic and environmental benefits, become more resource efficient, produce less waste and capitalise on the social, economic and environmental value of our existing places.

Construction Sector

The construction sector is the largest contributor to waste, accounting for 50% of all waste in Scotland. We know how to design buildings that are resource, energy and environmentally efficient, we have the innovation, the knowledge, and technological wherewithal, but this is not always taken forward in practice. Some architectural practices operate in an entirely ‘circular’ way, upcycling materials and building components and through innovative resource use.

Circular Economy

Zero waste Scotland has tools and information on the importance and opportunity of the circular economy in Scotland

Learn more about the circular economy here

Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland focuses on where, we can have the greatest impact on climate change. This includes:

Responsible Consumption – where people and businesses demand products and services in ways which respect the limits of our natural resources.
Responsible Production – where a circular economy is embraced by businesses and organisations which supply products and services to get the maximum life and value from the natural resources used to make them;

Maximising Value from Waste – where the environmental and economic value of wasted resources and energy is harnessed efficiently.

Access the Zero Waste Scotland site here