Circular Economy

APRS have been working on the Circular Economy as part of our ‘Have you Got the Bottle’ campaign since 2015 and campaigning on issues of waste and litter since we were founded in 1926. We believe that Scotland needs a new model to transform our wasteful and polluting system to one with is compatible with a living planet. So we are campaigning to transform our one-way street of raw materials to landfill, into a truly sustainable circular economy.

Take two minutes to help strengthen Scotland’s Circular Economy Bill!

This Bill must be strengthened and improved so that it challenges our current throwaway economy and moves Scotland towards a sustainable, circular economy. We are asking supporters to email their MSP this week to ask them to support measures to improve the Bill when it is debated in Parliament.

Deposit Return

APRS led the ‘Have You Got The Bottle?’ Campaign since 2015. Despite Government commitments to deliver a deposit return scheme in 2017, the start date was delayed four times, the latest indefinitely.

Read more

Circular Economy Bill

APRS are now campaigning for an ambitious and transformational Circular Economy Bill.

We believe that the bill, as it stands, needs considerable improvement. Waste should be seen as a systemic issue, and we need greater provisions for producer responsibility rather than the blame lying solely on individuals.

We gave evidence to a Scottish Parliament Committee in November 2023 outlining our asks.

Waste is a systemic issue – we need producer responsibility

Our current linear economic system shifts the responsibility for dealing with waste onto the taxpayer, local authorities, and the environment, rather than the onus being placed on those creating it. Essentially, this puts the cost of waste onto society, while privatising the profits.

An increased focus on producer responsibility is one of the core changes we would like to see in the Circular Economy Bill.

We need to go further than recycling alone

Recycling does not reduce waste at its source, and energy and material savings from reuse and refill schemes are far higher. We need measures that go further than recycling if we are to move towards a circular economy. In the final bill, we would like to see binding and enforceable targets for refill and reuse, based on the principle of producer responsibility and the introduction of takeback requirements for certain products, such as takeaway food containers, vapes, delivery packaging, mattresses, furniture, and toys. This can encourage producers to design their products more sustainably so that they can be taken back, repaired, and reused. 

We need a strong definition and purpose included in the bill

Currently, the Bill has no clearly defined purpose or definition of the term ‘circular economy’. This would ensure that the terms ‘circular economy’ and ‘circularity’ do not just become buzzwords with little meaning, and instead act to strengthen the bill, and that the aims of the bill are clearly set out. This purpose should also make clear the principle of producer responsibility, that producers of products must be responsible for their whole life cycle. 

A strong circular economy bill should be based on the waste hierarchy. Currently, there is no mention at all of the waste hierarchy in the bill! This is one of the core elements that we believe should be set out in the definition of a circular economy. 

Source: Scottish Environmental Link

The Scottish Government must set targets for its own circularity

We would also like to see the Scottish Government lead by example by setting and working towards circularity targets for their own buildings and premises. This policy has previously been supported by the Scottish Government and should be included in the Bill. 

Latest News on the campaign

What We Said

The Scottish Parliament will debate the Circular Economy Bill on 21 March. We have written a briefing for MSPs which makes the case to strengthen the Bill in order to transform our economy towards circularity. We need drastic action to reduce reliance on raw materials and to stop waste and litter at source. The key mechanism for this is via producer responsibility.

What We Said

APRS has responded to the consultation on the Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill. In summary our view is that the bill, as it stands, needs considerable improvement if it is to drive Scotland’s transition towards a circular economy. Waste should be seen as a systemic issue, and we need greater provisions for producer responsibility rather than the blame lying solely on individuals.


APRS gave evidence to the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee on the Scottish Circular Economy Bill along with Friends of the Earth Scotland, Scottish Environment Link, and Circular Communities Scotland.

Bottle in water

Press Release

A new report launched last week shows just a 10-percentage point increase in reusable beverage packaging globally could eliminate 1 trillion single-use bottles and cups and prevent 153 billion single-use bottles and cups from entering the world’s oceans.

What happened to deposit return?

This long read delves into how corporate interests brought down deposit return.

No Return on glass bottle

Our Briefings and Consultation responses

Below you can read our policy briefings, responses to Government consultations and other campaign materials

APRS have been working on this issue for nearly a century

Original Caption: An aftermath of the Braemar Games! For love of the Countryside these devoted lady members collected six sackfuls of litter.

This photo from the APRS Annual Report 1933 shows two women collecting litter after the Braemar games. APRS has been active in campaigning on issues of litter since we were founded in 1926.

After nearly 100 years of working on education and awareness, the issues of litter are worse than ever and it is clear to us that the solution needs to be with producer responsibility.

Here is an extract from the 1933 APRS annual report regarding our early work on litter.

“Active propaganda was undertaken by the Association in the summer months of last year. A.P.R.S. placards, appealing against negligence in respect of litter, were displayed on many of the main bus routes throughout Scotland. The help of the Companies concerned is very gratefully acknowledged by the Council.

The problem of litter is really one of a national awakening through processes of education, and its solution must therefore be a gradual process. Some improvement is certainly noticeable, and with continued effort it will become more pronounced. Towns and villages are now doing more in the provision of rubbish receptacles, and numerous organisations connected with the countryside are directing attention to checking the nuisance. Among these are such active bodies as the Scottish Youth Hostels Association and the Federation of Ramblers.

It is again to be remarked that some of the worst offenders in respect of litter are the well-to-do owners of touring cars, and a suggestion has been made by the A.P.R.S. to the Automobile Association, that accessory makers would probably find a market for neat receptacles for use inside the car. It is very frequently for the want of any place of temporary disposal that litter is left on the ground. Burning is a dangerous practice, and it does not account for bottles and tins, nor is it always easy to dispose of rubbish by burying, without a certain amount of effort and some delay. The temptation is therefore strong to fall back on the slovenly course of leaving unwanted articles on the surface, or by the roadside. APRS Annual Report 1933

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