View of the city centre of Edinburgh and the roof of Waverley Railway Station

Circular economy in cities and regions

13 Apr 23 2 minute read

Zero Waste Scotland is working with city and regional level stakeholders to support a place-based transition to a circular economy.

Scotland is home to a diverse and rich range of cities and regions. From our bustling cities such as Glasgow and Edinburgh to the more sparsely populated Highlands and Islands, all with a distinct collection of industries, businesses and communities.

As part of Zero Waste Scotland’s ambition for Scotland to embrace a circular economy we are exploring opportunities, engaging and supporting at a local level. This approach, in addition to supporting key sectors, will allow us to encourage responsible production where we 'make, use, remake' as opposed to 'make, use, dispose'.

Embracing a circular economy in Scotland

For Scotland to fully embrace a circular economy a variety of support approaches will be required. Zero Waste Scotland is delivering support using a place-based approach, to nurture the development of the circular economy at a local level.

By concentrating on a specific geographical area, we can understand and raise awareness of the benefits of a circular approach, support opportunities in ‘horizontal’ sectors, build relationships with local stakeholders and link with other relevant activity taking place on a regional and local level. e.g. City Region Deals, regional economic development priorities, sustainability goals.

The challenges in building a circular economy are big but so are the benefits to businesses, to communities and to the planet.

By concentrating on a specific geographical area we can understand and raise awareness of the benefits of a circular approach.

The benefits of a place-based approach

A place-based approach to developing the circular economy in Scotland encourages and enables local flexibility to respond to issues and opportunities in different places. It helps overcome organisational and sectoral boundaries, encouraging collaboration and community involvement.

A collaborative, place-based approach with a shared purpose will allow the public, private and community sectors across Scotland to support a clear way forward for circular economy policies, developments and investments.

Our work in this area

Zero Waste Scotland is working in partnership with organisations in five areas, as part of its Circular Cities and Regions activity, to deliver a tailored programme of engagement and support:

  • Aberdeen City and Shire
  • Tayside
  • Glasgow
  • Highlands and Islands
  • South of Scotland 

Our current programme builds on several collaborative initiatives and the research that supported them:

Local Authority Circular Economy Framework

Zero Waste Scotland has developed a Local Authority Circular Economy Framework (below) to help local authorities embed circular economy into their own operations, their wider cities/districts/regions and to deliver circular opportunities and benefits. It draws together our own Scottish experience, knowledge and learning, as well as that from other organisations and locations to provide guidance and inspiration.