Chapter 9.2.2 Resource targets and responsibilities

Set national reuse targets

Scotland currently has no reuse target but does have a clear recycling target. This has resulted in poor prioritisation of reuse investment and system change compared to recycling232 and other activities lower down the waste hierarchy.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

Clear and ambitious preparations for reuse233 targets are necessary to support prioritising reuse over recycling, in line with the principles of the waste hierarchy. These preparation for reuse targets should be mandated at a Scottish level and reported alongside existing recycling targets for local authorities.

The Waste Hierarchy

Where possible local authorities should partner with existing third-sector organisations who have been leading in relation to reuse in Scotland. There is an urgent need for research to establish the best way to measure and report reuse and preparation for reuse levels in Scotland. However, since reuse and preparation for reuse targets are being used successfully elsewhere in Europe, such targets should work well here and we should learn from these international examples.234

Once targets are set, Scotland needs a clear process to monitor and report actual progress against targets on a local authority and national level, and to act when progress is insufficient.

At a European level, work is progressing in France, Spain, and Belgium to implement reuse or preparing for reuse targets,235 and ambitious preparation for reuse targets are about to be implemented in Portugal. All this demonstrates that such targets are feasible.

It should be noted that targets by themselves do not deliver change, they need to be supported by investment and other policy actions. But they are important to focus attention and show when progress is inadequate.

For further information:


For example, in Scotland as well as recycling targets and reporting, we have a recycling charter, recycling centres and a recycling infrastructure fund.


Preparation for Reuse relates to taking items from the waste stream (e.g., an HWRC site) and diverting them for reuse. Reuse includes all reuse activities and is much broader and more difficult to measure. This is the language of the EU Waste Hierarchy, We are calling for Preparation for Reuse Targets to be implemented in Scotland even if we use the phrase Reuse Targets.


For example, CRNI and the Discover Centre in Ireland have done some strong research on reuse targets, e.g. uploads/2017/09/EPA_RDC-Metrics-Final-Aug17.pdf


See RREUSE’s recent publication Re-use targets, why they matter and what initiatives already exist in the EU, 2022, uploads/2022/03/re-use-targets-factsheet.pdf

Version 1.0: September 2023

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