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Since “Making Things Last”, the document containing our circular economy strategy, was published in February, I have opened the circular economy investment fund for bids from collaborative, reuse and repair projects by small and medium-sized enterprises and social enterprises, and I have awarded more than £2 million to East Ayrshire Council to implement the household recycling charter, with further support available to councils to deliver a consistent approach to recycling in Scotland. I welcome the fact that 20 local authorities have now signed up to the charter.
Public bodies, partner organisations and, indeed, other cabinet secretaries and ministers are undertaking additional activity, as this is a cross-cutting Government approach that can succeed only if everyone plays their part.
The cabinet secretary has answered the first part of my supplementary question, which concerned the household recycling charter.
What further work will the Government be undertaking with local authorities, given that they are the bodies that will be responsible for implementing many of the actions that are in the strategy?
I apologise to the member for gazumping her. As I indicated, 20 of Scotland’s 32 councils have signed up to the household recycling charter, which has been so successful thus far due to the close collaboration between the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, which brought it about in the first place. That co-operation will continue as we start to implement the charter and take forward other elements of the “Making Things Last” strategy, including the commitment to review the rural exemption for food waste collections.
It is fair to say that a number of the councils that have signed up are in the early stages of their transition planning for this, but the idea is to ensure that, as far as possible, we have consistency across council boundaries in how recycling is done. We think that that will offer far more opportunities than currently exist with regard to waste and recycling.