Companies could be banned from dumping unsold products that are still in good order.
The Scottish Government will include the measure as part of the consultation on its new Circular Economy Bill, which is due in May.
Ministers believe such a move would address public concerns about unsold products being destroyed or ending up in landfill.
Instead retailers would be forced to consider other alternatives, such as donating unsold items or recycling them.
France has recently brought in such a ban, with the European Union also considering a similar intervention.
Circular economy minister Lorna Slater said: “It is absolutely senseless for perfectly good products to end up in landfill. Rather than being wasted in landfill or incinerated, they should be reused or repurposed.”
The minister spoke out ahead of a visit to Fresh Start in Edinburgh, where white goods and household items that have been donated by companies are given to help those who have been homeless as they move into a new property.
Slater said: “Organisations like Fresh Start show that there is a real need for items like these, and with the cost of living increasing this need is growing rapidly.
“We are living in a climate emergency. When goods go to landfill without having even been used once, we don’t just waste the product – we also waste all the energy and raw materials that went into making it.
“This proposal is a direct response to the public concerns about what happens to items that go unsold. By pursuing a ban, we can make sure they make it into the hands of those that need them, and help Scotland reduce its carbon footprint.
“This is the sort of action that’s needed to create a circular economy and shows the level of ambition that will be contained in our proposals in May.”
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