Accelerator website launched to help Scottish businesses become circular

A new website has been launched by Zero Waste Scotland to provide businesses across Scotland with the tools they need to switch to circular economy business models.

The circular economy is an economic model whereby resources are kept in circulation for as long as possible and waste is minimised. Launched yesterday (3 June), the Circular Economy Accelerator provides information on how the circular economy can provide new income streams, reduce money spent on materials and reduce the environmental impact of businesses.

Accelerator launched to help Scottish businesses become circularAdvice manuals and access to support and funding, such as the Circular Economy Business Support Service and the £18-million Circular Economy Investment Fund, are available on the website.

Also provided are a number of case studies from businesses that have already adopted circular economy models, such as Glasgow-based EGG Lighting, which produces resource-efficient LED lighting. The company operates a products-as-a-service and circular design model where customers pay EGG for a smart, energy-saving light service. When a light needs to be repaired, instead of disposing with the entire unit, EGG replaces the required part and then takes the broken item away for repair. This keeps the product on the market for as long as possible.

EGG Lighting Managing Director, Brian O’Reilly, said: “We’ve got this love affair with technology and we always want the latest and the best because it brings new benefits and features with it. It’s about trying to get the balance between making it circular, but also allowing this love affair to exist.

“We work out how customers can get the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to efficiency. We want to build products that last longer, whereas the whole LED industry seems to be geared towards building products that have a very fixed ‘end of life’.”

The circular economy has been at the heart of Scotland’s environmental and industrial strategies, with the Scottish Government launching its ‘Making Things Last’ circular economy strategy in 2016 in collaboration with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Zero Waste Scotland.

Since then, the government has committed several millions of pounds of funding to advance the circular economy in the shape of the Circular Economy Investment Fund, designed to support innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) moving towards a circular economy. The government also recently released the proposed design of its deposit return scheme (DRS) for beverage containers, its flagship circular policy. The DRS will see a 20-pence deposit placed on all beverage containers above 50 millilitres and up to three litres in size made from aluminium and steel, glass or PET plastic.

Commenting on the new Circular Economy Accelerator, Iain Gulland, Chief Executive at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “As the growing climate emergency forces us all to reconsider our approaches to everyday living, Zero Waste Scotland has worked quickly to develop a hub that presents great opportunities and support for businesses to change the mindset on how they operate. This can reduce costs and generate new income streams, while attempting to address what is a global problem.

“There are a wide number of ways this can be achieved, such as creating new products from previously wasted materials or moving to leasing models where manufacturers can take back and refurbish existing products. Innovative methods can also design out waste from manufacturing processes. This is a way of operating that is going to grow in the years ahead and Scotland has the opportunity to be a leader on the international stage.”

You can access the Circular Economy Accelerator on the Zero Waste Scotland website.

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