Examples of what a circular economy could mean for Scotland in practice have been on show this week at the second day of the Scottish Resources Conference, the leading national industry event in Scotland.
Organisations already being supported to adopt more circular practices themselves – or encourage networks and key sectors to do so –featured prominently, including Falkirk lighting leasing firm Juice, Forfar-based Ogilvy Spirits and The Scottish Leather Group.
Developments in sectors as varied as bio-economy and textiles were also outlined, including the presentation on opportunities within the oil & gas sector based on a new evidence report jointly published by Zero Waste Scotland and the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturing.
The conference also represented an opportunity to discuss issues to feed into the Scottish Government’s consultation on the circular economy, Making Things Last, which closes at the end of this month.
Setting Scotland’s progress within a broader context, European official Kestutis Sadauskas will address day two of the Scottish Resources Conference, organised by the Chartered Institutions of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Zero Waste Scotland, discussing European ambitions for a circular economy.
Scottish Government Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “We are making progress in Scotland with regard to realising the exciting opportunities presented by the circular economy, and looking at how we make the best use of our precious resources and make things last – a principle that we can apply from everything from our clothing to industrial processes in key industries. . The business opportunities for Scotland are tremendously exciting and it’s great to see such a range of companies highlighted at this event.
“I look forward to hearing as broad a range of views from as many people as possible on how to maximise the benefits which a circular economy will have for Scotland, both economically and environmentally.”
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “I was delighted to welcome an EU representative to the Scottish Resources Conference, to hear his international perspective on the circular economy, and to be able to share our examples of circular economy business development which are happening here in Scotland. We aren’t only discussing the possibilities for change, we’re exploring these exciting new business opportunities, such as that with the oil and gas sector being outlined today by RSA. We are keen to examine how Zero Waste Scotland can help these businesses thrive, and others to adopt circular models that will ensure a sustainable future, both economically and in terms of our all-important stewardship of resources.”
The RSA and Zero Waste Scotland presented early findings from their North Sea Oil and Gas Rig Decommissioning & Re-use Opportunity Report, which finds that the potential for re-use in the sector, particularly around the decommissioning of rigs, is “significant.”
It finds that the potential benefits of adopting circular economy principles within the oil and gas sector in Scotland would be to:
– reduce the environmental impacts associated with recycling/disposal of materials;
– reduce the net cost of decommissioning; and
– develop new oil and gas industry sub-sectors which could offer additional job creation opportunities for supply chain companies in a lower oil price economy.
Sophie Thomas, Director of Circular Economy at the RSA, who addressed the conference today, said: “The RSA Great Recovery has been working closely with Zero Waste Scotland to identity opportunities in where a more circular approach could bring increased opportunity and value into sectors. Our report North Sea Oil and Gas Rig Decommissioning and Re-use Opportunity is the first of our publications. By working with key stakeholders in the circular network we have developed a series of recommendations that are based on practical auditing and cross sector business creation. There is untapped value and great opportunity for Scotland to develop a world-class circular industry around oil and gas rig decommissioning.”
Dan Epstein, The Great Recovery Team, said: “There are very few industries that lend themselves so readily to adoption of circular economy principles and practice. With a very large forward order book of oil and gas assets that will be decommissioned and removed from the North Sea over the next 20 years that have a potentially very significant reuse value, developing a comprehensive programme to land and reclaim all or part of those assets in the UK will create financial value, new skills and jobs and expertise in a globally important new sector.”
Colin McLaughlin, of lighting rental and leasing firm Jiuce, which is part of the Zero Waste Scotland circular economy business models programme, said this had transformed his business: “The support from Zero Waste Scotland has helped us develop marketable solutions which will accelerate the take up of LED lighting in commercial property. Throughout the process they have kept Juice focussed on the end objective, challenged where necessary and provided support when we required. It is fair to say that we would not have been able to launch a ‘Rent a Light’ service without them.”
Also working with Zero Waste Scotland is Scottish business Ogilvy Spirits embraces the principles of a circular economy by distilling award-winning vodka from potatoes not suitable for the supermarket. The family-run farm in Forfar takes low grade potatoes that would normally be used for cattle feed and turns them into a high value exportable product with a long shelf-life. Graeme Jarron, Co-Founder, Ogilvy Spirits, said: “I wanted to build a future for further generations, to create something from our farm’s produce, starting small, and then hopefully sharing it worldwide.”
Zero Waste Scotland is also working with the Scottish Leather Group on a project to remanufacture leather by-products. The Scottish Leather Group Limited has had support to develop a circular model which sees cutting waste from the manufacturing process (for interiors for the automotive industry) transformed into high-value add-on products for use in the industry.”
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”