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Half a million up for grabs to see Scotland develop new ‘zero waste’ solutions

Efforts to progress Scotland’s ambitious Zero Waste agenda take another step forward today (Wednesday 5 October 2011), as Zero Waste Scotland announces two new grant schemes to support the development of new ideas which could help us reduce waste and recycle more.

5 Oct 11

Marking an initial investment of up to £500,000 in innovations, the announcement was welcomed by Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead in a video address to the audience at the Scottish Waste and Resources Conference incorporating Zero Waste Scotland’s annual conference, being held in Glasgow today in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management.   

With innovation topping the conference bill, a ground-breaking prototype of a premium whisky bottle which marks a technical first for the Edrington Group, the producers of household names like Famous Grouse, will also be unveiled to showcase world-leading progress already being made in Scotland to reduce waste.

Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, said:

“Today’s announcement of £500,000 to stimulate innovation will ensure Scotland is at the forefront of efforts to achieve zero waste, both at home and internationally.

“Forecasts suggest that future innovation and technology developments could be worth an additional £8.4 billion to Scotland’s low carbon industries by 2015 and create up to 100,000 jobs.

“Innovation is vital if we are to become a zero waste society. New technologies can help us reduce our reliance on natural resources and enable us create value from the existing materials we use.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s first innovation fund is aimed at innovations in product and packaging design with the potential to be scaled up to achieve significant resource and carbon savings.  The second fund targets innovative resource recovery technologies that will allow more economic benefit to be gained from resources in Scotland, including targeting materials not currently reprocessed in Scotland like precious metals recovered from electrical equipment. 

More information on the funds is available from www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/innovationfund

Iain Gulland, Director of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Zero waste can be a driver of industrial growth in Scotland, providing real opportunities for entrepreneurs who have the vision to see value in the materials we currently discard as waste.  

“Often the opportunities may arise from existing businesses thinking differently about their own inputs and outputs. For instance we are seeing major electronics firms in Asia taking concerted action to recover precious metals to go back into their own supply chain.  These are materials we currently have in abundance here in Scotland, still sadly finding their way into landfill sites.

“We want to see businesses in Scotland commit to zero waste and work with us to develop new solutions.  That’s why we are making major investment available to take forward the best ideas with potential to reduce our waste footprint or get more value from the resources we do consume.”

Breaking ground as a technical first, Edrington’s light-weight prototype bottle weighs in at 340 grams to provide a 14% weight reduction previously not thought possible in the production of premium spirit bottles which retain features like engraving or embossing. 

The breakthrough was made possible thanks to support from partners including bottle manufacturers O-I Alloa, Smurfit Kappa for wraparound cases, Chesapeake Hillington for labels, and Zero Waste Scotland.  The new bottle will be tested in a selection of Scottish supermarkets this autumn.

Mike Rose, Edrington’s Director of Technical Services, said: 

“From a technical point of view, we set out to prove that it was possible to produce a glass bottle under 400g which still supports premium features like engraving and embossing and can cope with the speed of our production line, one of the fastest bottling lines for Scotch whisky which runs at up to 600 bottles per minute.  It was a stern test for the new bottle, but it ran successfully through all of the processes without any hitches or breakages.

“Now that we have a prototype, tests are underway to see whether it is feasible to roll the new bottle out across our products.  If the innovation was adopted by Famous Grouse, the product group would save over 2160 tonnes of glass every year.  And if this was rolled out across the whisky industry, it could save over 58,000 tonnes of glass annually. 

“For us, this wasn’t about cost saving.  It was more about our commitment to achieving our environmental objectives as an organisation.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s annual conference sees over 250 waste professionals gather in Glasgow today (5 October 2011) to share expertise and celebrate successes being made as Scotland moves towards its ambition to become a zero waste society.

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