Zero Waste Scotland challenges businesses to move circular economy into the business mainstream

Scottish businesses from a broad range of sectors will today be challenged to consider how they could benefit from an emerging circular economy, as Zero Waste Scotland take a ‘this is not niche’ message to one of the country’s biggest business events, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) forum, being held in Edinburgh. 

23 Mar 15

As part of their programme to stimulate a circular economy in Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland will host a joint session at the forum with The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce (RSA).  The two organisations will showcase the progress of the ‘Great Recovery’ project, a joint initiative which aims to build new networks across a broad range of sectors and specialisms to explore how we can design and manufacture products in a more sustainable way, moving towards a more circular system. 

Zero Waste Scotland, Scotland’s resource efficiency body, is also set to highlight its work to support Scottish businesses to adopt a circular economy business model, spotlighting examples from companies they have already successfully helped to move to new business practice with far less reliance on raw materials. 

The potential for Scotland to benefit from establishing a circular economy was recently highlighted in a new report from Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise on Remanufacturing, which found that the remanufacturing industry in Scotland has the potential to grow from its current value of £1.1 billion by an additional £620m by 2020, creating an additional 5,700 jobs.  Further opportunities for remanufacturing and other sectors will be set out in the Scottish Government’s circular economy roadmap, which it intends to publish later in 2015.


Louise McGregor, Head of Circular Economy, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“The circular economy presents a huge opportunity for Scotland, with projected benefits for business and our economy.  We are gearing up support for businesses, building on our strong evidence to understand the opportunities better and working with businesses directly to help them develop more circular practices.    

“The list of successes is already growing, including businesses like Retek, an IT re-use firm with a turnover of £3.3million, that offers an incentivised return business model, repairing and refurbishing functional IT products and sharing the revenue from sales with the previous owner.  Another example is Save Juice, formally known as Market LED, which operates a service business model, developed in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland, in which customers rent or lease LED lighting.

“Firms like these are turning the circular economy into a reality and I’m delighted to be at the SCDI today to bring that message to as broad a business audience as possible.  I’d urge businesses from all sectors to explore more circular alternatives to their business models, and Zero Waste Scotland is here to support them. 

“Establishing a circular economy will take change at all stages in our traditional make-use-dispose system, and by focussing on all the aspects – from design to business support, we hope to stimulate change which will help Scotland achieve a more sustainable economy.”

Jamie Cooke, Head of RSA Scotland said:

“The RSA is delighted to be working with Zero Waste Scotland in bringing our Great Recovery project and learning to Scotland.  At the RSA, we believe that design has an essential role in developing, and delivering, circular economy approaches in Scotland.  Design offers a different way of looking at the opportunities and challenges we face, and a creative methodology for responding to them.  By bringing together the design expertise which is present across Scotland, and combining it with our own learning and research in the RSA’s Fellowship and staff team, we are delivering an exciting creative environment which offers great promise for Scotland’s future economic and environmental development”

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