Scottish manufacturing SMEs encouraged to apply for circular economy funding

Small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland’s manufacturing sector have been called upon to access up to £1 million of grant funding from the Circular Economy Investment fund, provided by Zero Waste Scotland, to develop innovative circular economy ideas and take advantage of new business opportunities.

The funding is available to Scottish manufacturing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the Circular Economy Investment fund, an £18-million fund set up in March 2016 administered by Zero Waste Scotland and financed by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The fund is part of a wider £70-million investment package also brought in in 2016 to improve business productivity and move to a circular economy in Scotland.

Scottish manufacturing SMEs encouraged to apply for circular economy funding

Manufacturing has been identified as a sector with great potential to deliver circular economy benefits for Scotland, as laid out in the Scottish Government’s ‘Making Things Last’ circular economy strategy, and in Scotland’s manufacturing action plan, led by Scottish Enterprise.

Zero Waste Scotland will provide support to SMEs in the manufacturing sector that want to move to a circular model through one-to-one coaching for businesses through its Circular Economy Business Support Service, helping them to deal with resource pressures and exploring sustainable business opportunities.

A “profitable and sustainable future” for Scotland

Scotland is at the forefront of circular economy thinking in action, and is globally recognised as such, winning the Circular Economy Nations and Category at the prestigious Circulars Awards.

Commenting on the new funding, Iain Gulland, Chief Executive at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Scotland’s manufacturing sectors are of huge importance to the Scottish economy and are ideally placed to help drive more circular business practices that set Scotland up for a more profitable and sustainable future.

“This is an opportunity to gain financial support for innovative new ideas that generate growth, as well as driving a more circular economy in Scotland. There are huge potential benefits for both the businesses themselves and the country as a whole, and we at Zero Waste Scotland are keen to hear from businesses with transformational ideas.”

Bryan Buchan, CEO of Scottish Engineering, added: “The advent of circular business models presents exciting opportunities for Scottish manufacturers. The engineering sector has the expertise to really lead in this area and should be able to take advantage of this. With the funding and support currently available from Zero Waste Scotland to explore new business possibilities, I would urge our members to get in touch.”

Areas of focus

Facilitating a shift in Scotland’s manufacturing sector from a linear model of production and consumption to a circular one will require a major rethink in terms of the manufacturing process.

In order to achieve this, applications to the Circular Economy Investment Fund will be particularly welcomed from manufacturing SMEs and projects that focus on:

  • Reuse and repair; 
  • Collaborative business models;
  • 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes to facilitate local repair services and self-sufficiency;
  • Designing and manufacturing of modular products for easy maintenance and repair;
  • Remanufacture; and
  • Replacing products with new, circular services.

To find out more about the Circular Economy Investment Fund, visit the Zero Waste Scotland website for more information.

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