Circular Economy - Support for Residents

On this page you will find information on:


What is the Circular Economy?

In a Circular Economy, waste of all types – from all sources – is minimised to as close to zero as possible. There is a particular focus on reusing and recirculating materials which have already been through the production process and designing things to last for multiple uses, with no waste left behind.

Consumption in Scotland is unsustainably high and this is reflected in the national carbon footprint. We need to make changes to how much we buy and operate as a society if we want a green future. Zero Waste Scotland and Circle Economy's Circularity Gap Report (2023) reported that:

  • “Only 1.3% of the resources Scotland uses are cycled back into the economy, with over 98% of Scotland’s material use coming from virgin resources.”
  • “Scotland’s per capita material footprint is 21.7 tonnes, nearly double the global average of 11.9 tonnes.”
  • “Scotland extracts 22.8 tonnes of material per person per year, 60% of which comes from fossil fuels. The UK average is 5.5.”
  • “High consumption and extraction tie into a similarly large consumption-based carbon footprint of 75 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).”

How can I support the Circular Economy?

Everyone can help to reduce Scotland’s consumption footprint by reducing household food waste and textile waste.

The 2021 household waste Carbon Metric update from Zero Waste Scotland found that Scottish household waste carbon impacts had increased to 5.9 million tonnes CO2e.  This is an increase of 0.9% from 2020 figures, and an increase of 4% since the historic low of 2019.

The top five most carbon intensive materials accounted for 46% of all household waste tonnage in 2021, but 83% of the carbon impacts.

  • Textile waste made up just 4% of waste arisings, but 32% of the carbon impacts
  • Food waste accounted for 18% of household waste by weight, but 30% of household waste carbon impacts.

In 2021, 0.53 tonnes of household waste per person was generated in East Dunbartonshire, which is above the Scottish average of 0.45 tonnes per person.

Tips for reducing food waste

  • Use up fresh food products with shorter shelf-lives first or freeze for later use
  • Plan food shopping trips and weekly meals in advance and make lists to avoid over-shopping
  • Consider whether bulk-buy offers can be used before the expiry date – they may not be the best value for your wallet or the planet if the excess cannot be stored and will go to waste
  • Make sure food is stored in optimal conditions to extend its shelf-life (and be careful of keeping fruits together as some fruit, like bananas, naturally produce chemicals which make others ripen faster)
  • Keep an eye out for creative ways to use up left-over ingredients
  • Reduce waste from unfinished food on plates by serving smaller portions and offering seconds (this could be especially helpful in families with young children)
  • Experiment with batch-cooking and storing pre-prepared meals or ingredients in the freezer for later use
  • Use food preservation methods such as pickling, drying or fermenting
  • If you have a garden, you could have a go at making your own compost from food scraps or growing your own fruit and vegetables from left-over seeds.

Tips for reducing textile waste

  • Shop your own closet before buying something new – the most sustainable clothing option is to wear what you already own
  • If you have a lot of clothes, rotating your wardrobe for summer and winter can make it easier to access weather-appropriate items and might increase the number of times you wear each item of clothing (things which do not suit the current season could be put away in storage to give you more space)
  • Consider options to repair or upcycle your existing clothes rather than replacing them – some minor damage such as missing buttons can be cheap and easy to fix, and there are tutorials online.
  • Try washing clothing on a lower temperature and air-drying to help reduce wear and tear and make clothes and other textiles last longer
  • Think about the cost per wear while shopping for new clothing – higher quality, classic pieces may cost more initially, but could be better value than trend-led fast fashion in the long-run
  • Choose items made from natural and sustainable materials where possible and consider the processes that went into producing the fabrics you use, and what will happen to them at the end of their lifecycle
  • Look into clothing rental options for special occasions
  • Shop preloved or upcycled clothing
  • Recirculate any unwanted clothes by donating or selling them on to someone who can use them.

Local waste collection and recycling

The Council has been working to expand the range of materials which can be recycled locally.

To find out about the current local waste disposal options including bin collections and recycling centres, visit our Recycling and Waste webpages (link opens in new window).

You can also learn what happens to the food waste from domestic waste collections in East Dunbartonshire by watching this short video (external link opens in new window).

Local Circular Economy Directory

You can find out what local organisations are already doing as part of the Circular Economy (and suggest anything that may be missing) by checking out our interactive map (external link opens in new window).

Where to find further information about the Circular Economy

Visit the Zero Waste Scotland website (external link opens in new window) for the latest on the Circular Economy in Scotland, including tips for sustainable living.

Visit the WRAP website for advice (external link opens in new window) on tackling the causes of the climate crisis through the action areas of recycling, food and drink, plastic packaging and textiles.


Learning for sustainability is part of the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland, and all schools and learning environments have these concepts integrated into their lesson plans.

There are 79 East Dunbartonshire schools and early years centres registered with the Eco-Schools programme run by Keep Scotland Beautiful and 12 of these currently have a Green Flag Award:

  • Balmuildy Primary School
  • Clober Nursery
  • Clober Primary School
  • Colquhoun Park Primary School
  • Craigdhu Primary School
  • Douglas Academy
  • Gartconner Primary School ad Early Years Centre
  • Killermont Primary School
  • Kirkintilloch Nature Kindergarten
  • Meadowburn Primary School
  • Torrance Primary School
  • Twechar Primary School.

East Dunbartonshire Council is keen to support schools in their sustainability and circularity journeys, as well as to encourage the development of future green skills and employment opportunities.

Further resources for schools can be found on the Zero Waste Scotland website (external link opens in new window).

Circular Economy Strategy

You can view the Circular Economy Strategy for East Dunbartonshire online (link opens in new window).