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Zero Waste Scotland Launches £18m Circular Economy Fund for Business

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Scotland’s circular economy experts Zero Waste Scotland on Friday (18th March) launched an £18m fund to help small and medium-sized enterprises explore and pioneer ways to develop a circular economy. The launch takes place in collaboration with Scottish Enterprise at a special session of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) forum in St Andrews.

The Circular Economy Investment Fund is part of a wider £70m programme, supported through European Regional Development Funds, which aims to improve business productivity and create a circular economy in Scotland, announced by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister last month. The Scottish Government is taking a lead internationally on this agenda, having recently launched an ambitious strategy for the Circular Economy, Making Things Last.

The fund aims to accelerate the development of business innovation, including support for developing new technologies and the infrastructure needed for a more circular economy which could mean sharing, leasing or takeback models, encouraging repair or new recycling ideas. A circular economy is based on finding high value uses for materials and keeping materials in productive use for as long as possible, instead of simply using and discarding them.

Zero Waste Scotland will work with Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to help promote the fund and support businesses who could potentially benefit from it. The funding will be spread over three years and be focused on key sectors such as the bio-economy the built environment and energy infrastructure. There will also be funding available for key activities such as reuse, remanufacturing, repair and reprocessing.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Across Europe, shifting towards a more circular economy could generate £1.4 trillion of annual benefits by 2030. It presents significant opportunities for Scotland, and that’s why the Scottish Government is showing ambition and commitment in putting support behind the development of circular economy businesses and ideas, and also setting a strategy to drive change. The circular economy is at the heart of the Manufacturing Action Plan recently launched by myself and the First Minister and I urge businesses who have the ideas and the ambition to work with us.”

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “We’re genuinely excited to be launching this fund to help businesses and organisations in Scotland seize the opportunities that the circular economy presents. Now is the time to turn big ideas into action. Developing a circular economy places significant emphasis on innovation and new thinking to find high value uses for materials, drive new technologies and develop infrastructure.

“It’s about opening up and stimulating markets to build prosperity that is sustainable, turning waste into wealth and keeping materials in productive use for as long as possible. We know the future is circular and our Circular Economy Investment Fund is available to help all sorts of small to medium size businesses or organisations to not just stay ahead of the curve, but shape that curve.”

Linda Hanna, Managing Director of Strategy and Sectors at Scottish Enterprise, said:

“A circular economy is good for the environment and good for business.  Reusing, repairing and sharing resources is proven to increase productivity and stimulate new markets, new products and new services.

“Practically, it means companies often unlock hidden potential from their supply chains and materials and we’re keen to support Scotland’s SMEs to really take hold of this opportunity and help grow their business.”

 

Zero Waste Scotland Chair Vic Emery will be chairing a session at today’s SCDI Forum to discuss ways to harness innovation and explore these issues with leading circular economy business figures, including Kresse Wesling MBE, co-founder of Elvis and Kresse, a revolutionary circular business which reclaims London fire hoses and other previously waste materials and turns them into luxury accessories.

The session also features Kennedy Miller, Technology and Sustainability Manager from Brand-Rex, a company employing circular initiatives in cabling solutions and Eric Whale, Director of CelluComp, which produces a multi-use nano-fibre from agri-waste, as well as Zero Waste Scotland’s Iain Gulland and Ewan Mearns of Scottish Enterprise.

Kresse Wesling MBE, Co-Founder, Elvis & Kresse said:

“There is now, thankfully, a global understanding of our planetary limits. The only kind of business model that can grow and flourish indefinitely within these limits is a circular one. This requires you to account for all of your resources, all of your externalities; you must ensure that everything you use is cherished, and can continue to be cherished forever. You can’t use anything up. We will be the first to admit that this is an enormous challenge, but isn’t that what makes it exciting?”

Interested organisations should go to the Zero Waste Scotland website for more information and to apply. The fund will be open for applications from 1st April 2016 and will be a two stage process, available at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/circular-economy

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

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

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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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.”

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