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Entrepreneurial partnership launched to tackle Scotland’s waste tyres

A major new strategic partnership was announced on 2 August by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Entrepreneurial Scotland, aimed at eliminating the problem of waste tyres as an environmental issue in Scotland.

With approximately 100 tyres turned into waste every 15 minutes in Scotland, the mounting pressure on the economy to find environmental solutions that harness the value of these resources, has never been greater, said a release issued by SEPA. The partnership announced at the “Global Tyre Challenge” event seemingly sets in motion an ambitious challenge for entrepreneurs to find sustainable new business opportunities for waste tyres over the next five years. Alongside this, SEPA has committed to developing a specific Sector Plan that will set targets and actions to directly tackle waste tyres and the criminal behaviours, such as illegal dumping, that the industry can attract.

The event also marked Earth Overshoot Day for 2017, the date by which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds the Earth’s capacity, highlighting that we are now running at a resource deficit for the rest of the year.

The initiative will work hand in hand with the Saltire Fellowship Programme, a leadership development training initiative in Scotland. This year’s cohort of Saltire Fellows will explore new ventures that can actively turn waste tyres into viable business opportunities. Working closely with entrepreneurs and those immersed in entrepreneurial thinking will significantly enhance SEPA’s own traditional approaches to regulation and provide proactive solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges facing Scotland’s economy, says SEPA.

Speaking at the announcement, SEPA’s Chief Executive, Terry A’hearn, said:

“The most prosperous businesses in the 21st century will embed the importance of a circular economy at the heart of their operations and will be purpose driven to seek opportunities which bring profitability through environmental innovation.

“The partnership between SEPA and Entrepreneurial Scotland taps into the most creative assets at our disposal to find some truly innovative approaches to reduce or reuse the number of waste tyres circulating in our economy. By working together, we have the potential to create economic opportunities that provide tangible benefits for environmental and social success in Scotland.

“I am hopeful that today marks the start of a unique and powerful collaboration which will help move the date of Earth Overshoot Day further back each year and in doing so make our planet more resilient for future generations.”

The “Global Tyre Challenge” brought together leading waste experts, business innovators and entrepreneurial leaders with SEPA, Entrepreneurial Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland today at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre. To kick-start the initiative a breakfast session explored the global scale of the current waste tyre problem, followed by the partnership announcement and a Q&A panel. The event culminated with a workshop for practitioners and the tyre industry, aimed at giving context to the challenge and providing powerful ideas which the Saltire Fellows can carry forward into the upcoming 2017 Fellowship Programme, as they embark on the problem solving phase.

James Stuart, Managing Director of Entrepreneurial Scotland, said:

“Partnering with SEPA is a fantastic example of how collaboration can solve real challenges and support Scotland in becoming the most entrepreneurial society in the world.

“Our Saltire Fellows are without a doubt the right candidates to take on this challenge. In the coming months this year’s cohort will spend time at Babson College in Boston and be immersed in entrepreneurial thinking. That entrepreneurial thinking will then focus on viable solutions to combat the waste tyre challenge.

“The businesses of tomorrow will need to be much more resource efficient going forward and we believe that entrepreneurial thinking will be the key to unlocking Scotland’s potential and the way to successfully address some of our, and the world’s, biggest challenges.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive for Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“This is an exciting move from SEPA and partners, not only to tackle the significant problems created by unwanted waste tyres, but to look at opportunities for new business development, through a circular economy approach.

“A circular economy is one where resources or products are redeveloped for new purposes, not simply thrown away or dumped, and the economic and environmental potential for Scotland of exploiting these opportunities and leading the thinking, is huge. As Scotland’s expert on the circular economy, Zero Waste Scotland is delighted to be part of this event with SEPA and Entrepreneurial Scotland and we look forward to coming up with some innovative solutions to this problem.”

Today’s Global Tyre Challenge event has shown the ambition and appetite within Scotland to pioneer innovative business ideas which reuse valuable resources in our economy and begins to eliminate the potential for criminal behaviour within Scotland’s waste industry.

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