As awareness increases of our changing climate we know that, as a global society, we need to do better to protect the environment.

To achieve this we need meaningful action. And crucially, we need everyone on board.

Today marks World Environment Day, the United Nations’ day for encouraging awareness and action to protect our environment and reduce plastic pollution. Perhaps this is the ideal opportunity for all of us to look at what we’re doing and examine where we can do more to tackle climate change.

At Zero Waste Scotland we’ve made it our mission to raise awareness of the link between consumption and climate change.

We live in an economy that encourages us to buy as much as we can, throwing things away without a second thought and feeding into a false belief that the Earth’s resources are infinite and our actions of no consequence to the environment Unfortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, around four-fifths of Scotland’s footprint comes from the products and materials we make, use, and throw away – often before the end of their useable life. Meanwhile the average Scot consumes more than twice the sustainable amount of materials per year.

We know our planet simply can’t sustain our consumption habit, and our environment is suffering the consequences.

There is a solution available, however. In a circular economy, waste is designed out of products and avoided at all costs. Instead, items are made to be used and reused for as long as possible, maximising their value and minimising our impact on the planet.

What’s more, in a circular economy the goal isn’t to endlessly consume but to promote environmental and human wellbeing instead. In a nutshell, it’s a system that puts the people and planet before products.

Zero Waste Scotland exists to drive Scotland’s progress towards becoming a circular economy. We work with companies, communities, and everyone in between to achieve that goal. And through our work, Scotland has already made substantial progress.

Our Ditching Disposables project has seen businesses slash single-use and plastic waste.

Our Circular Economy Investment Fund has helped companies adopt more sustainable practices while creating jobs in the process.

Our Circular Textile Fund is currently open for applications for projects that will adopt circular business models for how we use textiles and keep them in use for longer.

And initiatives such as our recent food waste Can-paign and plastics exhibition at the Dundee V&A have helped raise awareness about consumption and waste in a fun and engaging way.

The Scottish Government is also progressing efforts to drive a circular economy in Scotland with the Circular Economy Bill and a Route Map to 2025 set to be laid in parliament later this year.

But there’s still so much more to be done, and all of us can get involved and play a part in Scotland’s journey towards circularity.

As individuals, we have a crucial role to play. World Environment Day serves as a reminder for each of us to make conscious choices and reduce our own plastic footprint where we can.

By opting for reusable alternatives, supporting local businesses that prioritise sustainability, and actively participating in recycling programmes, we can collectively make a tangible difference.

Iain Gulland is chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland