Zero Waste Scotland unveils circular economy business models

Successful Scottish companies which are spearheading the development of the circular economy will be showcased at a major event in London this week, Resource (3rd-5th March).

2 Mar 15

Zero Waste Scotland, Scotland’s resource efficiency body, is highlighting the example of East Kilbride-based firm Re-tek as part of the launch of its Circular Economy Business Models Programme – a group of companies which are using innovative new practices, with far less reliance on raw materials, successfully.

A circular economy is one in which materials are kept in use for longer, and where businesses rely less on exploiting raw materials to make new products.

Re-tek is based in East Kilbride and has 32 employees.  In 2014, the business had a turnover of £3.3 million, repairing and refurbishing functional used IT products and sells on to new owners, sharing the revenue with the previous owner. This includes laptops, PCs, flat screen monitors and hand held electronics.

Re-tek operates an ‘incentivised return’ business model, which means it offers a financial benefit for the return of ‘used’ products, which can then be refurbished and resold. It has grown remarkably in recent years, growing its business from handling 50,000 units in 2011, to over 100,000 in 2014.

The firm features in a series of brand new case study and a new video which will be showcased at the Resource event and are now available on Zero Waste Scotland’s website at

Kevin Culligan, Co-founder, Re-tek, said:

“Zero Waste Scotland is helping us to develop our circular economy business model, where items are re-used instead of recycled, which mitigates the carbon footprint. After calculating the residual value in items, and taking away our operating costs, we can offer customers a rebate – this really helps us stand out.

“At Retek we are contributing to the development of a circular economy. Ultimately this means a stronger, more sustainable economy for Scotland.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland said:

I’m delighted to unveil some great examples from Zero Waste Scotland’s Circular Economy Business Models programme at this year’s Resource conference, showcasing some amazing businesses which are leading the way in Scotland.

“Moving to more circular practices – keeping materials in use for longer, providing services rather than relying on declining raw materials to produce ‘new’ products – is going to be essential for our economy in future.

Cutting edge companies like IT firm Re-tek are leading among firms in Scotland as a great example of how circular economy businesses can be extremely successful and profitable. Its innovative business model of repairing and refurbishing used IT equipment, selling it on and sharing the profits with previous owners, puts it at the cutting edge

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