Chapter 9.2.2 Resource targets and responsibilities

Ban unnecessary product destruction

Ban companies from destroying surplus stock.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

Currently there is no ban on companies destroying surplus stock, despite several media stories highlighting stock destruction on a massive scale.236

A more environmentally and socially responsible solution is needed to guide companies towards better waste management practices. There should be clear measures in place to prevent the destruction of unsold or returned products. This could be via direct mandated legislation or through the introduction of mandatory reporting, financial charges or other strong deterrents. There should also be steps to ensure that the principles of the waste hierarchy are followed – reuse (or in this case use for the first time) should be prioritised over recycling for example.

The consultation on a Circular Economy Bill for Scotland raises the idea of a ban on the destruction of unsold goods. This proposal could be strengthened by also including a ban on supermarkets destroying unsold food, as implemented in France in 2016.237

For further information:

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.