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Investment fund aims to encourage circular economy projects in Scotland

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Among the categories of innovation the fund aims to encourage is 3d printing and additive manufacturing processes to enable local repair services.

Manufacturing businesses with innovative circular economy ideas are being urged to access up to a million pounds of funding currently available from Zero Waste Scotland to unlock new business opportunities.

Scotland is at the cutting edge of developing a more circular economy, says ZWS – designing products and services to keep materials in use for as long as possible – and harnessing the innovation of manufacturers could realise huge economic and environmental benefits.

Manufacturing is identified as a key sector with the greatest opportunity to deliver circular economy benefits for Scotland in the Scottish Government’s Making Things Last strategy. As such manufacturing is a key target sector for Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy Investment Fund.

The potential benefits for individual businesses of taking forward circular ideas are vast – helping companies deal with resource pressures and through new business models, opening up sustainable new business opportunities.

Grant funding of up to £1million is now available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland’s manufacturing sectors from the Circular Economy Investment Fund.

The £18million fund, administered by Zero Waste Scotland, offers investment for SMEs based in Scotland and supports work that will deliver circular economy growth. It’s backed by funds from the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Zero Waste Scotland also offers expert one-to-one support to manufacturing businesses through its Circular Economy Business Support Service, which can support manufacturing companies to consider new business models such as transforming from a retail to a service model.

Scotland is recognised as a world-leader in the shift to a circular economy, having this year won the Circular Economy Nations and Regions Category at the high profile Circulars Awards.

Realising a circular economy in Scotland’s manufacturing sector means rethinking the manufacturing process – from design, to manufacture, disassembly and then remanufacture. This work forms the basis of Zero Waste Scotland’s commitment to Scotland’s manufacturing action plan, which is being led by Scottish Enterprise.

The Circular Economy Investment Fund is open to applications from manufacturing projects which encourage:

· Re-use and repair
· Collaborative business models, e.g. business hubs for shared equipment
· 3-D printing/additive manufacturing processes to enable local repair services and create self-sufficiency
· Designing and manufacturing of modular products for easy maintenance and repair
· Remanufacture
· Replacing products with services, and developing new, circular services

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, 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, Scottish Engineering, welcomed the call. He commented:

“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.”

For more information about the Circular Economy Investment Fund, or to apply, visit http://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/circular-economy. Applications under this round of funding will close on 12th September 2017.

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