Zero Waste Scotland launches toolkit to maximise £3bn circular economy business opportunity while responding to the climate emergency

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Ways the country’s businesses can maximise opportunities in the potentially lucrative circular economy and respond to the climate emergency are laid out across a new website launched on 3 June by Zero Waste Scotland.

The Circular Economy Accelerator will support the further development and implementation of circular economy business models across the country, thereby providing opportunities to open new income streams, reduce money spent on materials and reduce the impact of our businesses upon the planet.

The goal of a circular economy is to design and manufacture products in such a way that they can be used and re-used for as long as possible, maximising their value. At the end of their life, products are refurbished or remanufactured into other high value, high quality products.

The Circular Economy Accelerator provides tools that include advice manuals and access to support and funding, providing organisations with everything they require to identify where they can take a circular approach to business.

Adopting circular economy principles could benefit the Scottish economy by up to £3billion, according to a report previously produced by Zero Waste Scotland.

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.”

Firms that are already making a success of the circular approach to business include Elite Contract Furniture and EGG Lighting.

Glasgow-based Elite Contract Furniture provides a tailored furnishing service. The company is moving towards a circular model by examining the design of its mattresses and ways they can be recycled, as well as looking to build in an end-of-life use for its furniture that would stop it from going to landfill.

Greg Winston, director at Elite Contract Furniture, said: “I care about the environment, and am in a position where I can make a difference. It’s great to see other businesses trying as well, the more businesses that go down the circular economy route, the more people are aware of it.”

EGG Lighting produces sensor-led intelligent lighting solutions. 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 replenishes 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 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’.”

Zero Waste Scotland exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. The organisation’s goal is to help Scotland realise the economic, environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources.

For further details and successful circular economy case studies, please visit – https://ceaccelerator.zerowastescotland.org.uk/