Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today called for new actions to “fix fast fashion” in Scotland, as part of the move towards a circular economy.
The proposals form the latest instalment in Mr Cole-Hamilton's plan to offer "new hope for the climate emergency" in the run up to COP26.
Announcing the proposals, the new leader highlighted textile production is a major contributor to climate change, producing an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year - more than international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Scotland is a significant contributor, as research shows that each person in the UK bought around 26.7kg of clothing every year, compared to an average 15.6kg for people across other European countries.
Mr Cole-Hamilton is calling for:
- A Fast Fashion Commission, to review Scotland’s role in “fast fashion” domestically and internationally and make recommendations for change;
- New textile waste monitoring and reporting, alongside textile waste reduction targets.
- New kerbside collection options for textile recycling, to reduce the volume of clothing bought and binned and help build the brilliant network of charity shops.
Mr Cole-Hamilton is also calling for the delayed Circular Economy Bill to be brought forward, and for this to include a latte levy and a new ban on single use plastics.
Commenting on the proposals, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"With COP26 only weeks away, Scotland has a huge opportunity to set an example on the world stage. I want to offer new hope for the climate emergency with fresh ideas for every part of the crisis facing our planet.
“Scotland has a huge waste management problem, and it needs to be fixed. The way we buy things like clothes just to bin them later puts an enormous strain on our planet, and creates a huge volume of rubbish in the process.
“People are cottoning on to the damage fast fashion does to the world, but a Commission would help people better understand what lies behind those offers, many of which really are too good to be true. We also need better ways to deal with post-consumer textiles, because the options for re-using and recycling are far too limited.
“When sensible policies are introduced, people adapt - we saw that with the plastic bag charge. But so far, the Scottish Government have completely failed to motivate change.
“They parked their Circular Economy Bill, and even with a Green Minister in charge important policies like a latte levy won’t be seen for years to come. In the meantime, the waste pile just keeps on growing. The pandemic already turned back progress on things like reusable cups, and more delays will be hugely damaging.
“As COP26 draws nearer, Scotland needs to take a good look at itself from a global perspective. Too often, poor countries suffer the consequences of our bad habits. It’s time to take responsibility.”