SGF slams ScotGov’s approach on Circular Economy bill

Industry body calls on ministers to work with businesses

Scottish Grocers' Federation chief executive Pete Cheema.
SGF chief executive Pete Cheema has said ministers should have worked with businesses on the introduction of the Circular Economy Bill.

THE Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has slammed the Scottish Government‘s approach in implementing its new Circular Economy bill by not supporting businesses in its introduction.

MSPs passed the new bill on 26 June which gave further powers to local authority areas that ScotGov has argued will help to increase recycling and cut out single-use items.

This includes a potential charge added on to single-use items such as disposable cups as well as a restriction on the disposal of unsold consumer goods to prevent good products from going to landfill.

While welcoming any initiative that shows a clear support for the environment, the SGF has warned that these additional charges will only further challenge the economic situation that many retailers currently face.

Pete Cheema, chief executive at the SGF, said: “SGF supports the objectives of protecting our natural environment and encouraging recycling. Indeed, in recent years many of our members have led the way in implementing measures to improve recycling and save energy.

“Of real concern, however, is the potential additional charge on disposable cups and other single-use items, now that the Circular Economy Bill has been passed.

“The economic situation is already incredibly difficult for many in the Scottish convenience store sector and indeed in the wider industry. Such an additional challenge therefore could potentially impact local businesses, communities, and the services available to customers.

“These measures could result in driving customers away from local retail, where café services are reduced and as a consequence putting more pressure on both hard-working local businesses and households.

“SGF strongly believes that Ministers would have been better working alongside business and industry to improve recycling, through public education and awareness.

“Limiting the number of single-use items being sent to landfill and encouraging expanded recycling without additional costs for either businesses or consumers.”