Ban unnecessary product destruction
Ban companies from destroying surplus stock.
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:
- Policy Paper for Scotland Circular Economy Bill, Circular Communities Scotland, May 2022, https://www.circularcommunities.scot/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Scotlands-Circular-Economy-Bill-Policy-Paper.pdf
For example this 2021 report by ITV regarding a major internet retailer: https://www.itv.com/news/2021-06-21/amazon-destroyingmillions-of-items-of-unsold-stock-in-one-of-its-uk-warehouses-every-year-itv-news-investigation-finds