Zero Waste Scotland today welcomed the announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of a new £70m programme to develop and grow the circular economy in Scotland, as one part of a package of measures to boost manufacturing in Scotland.
The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Service, to be delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, will help small to medium-sized businesses and other organisations, develop innovative technologies, business models and infrastructure – from proof of concept stage through to implementation. It will also offer development support to businesses seeking to redesign their processes and products, and implement resource efficiency measures.
The programme will benefit from more than £70 million of investment – including £30 million from the European Regional Development Fund – which will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy across a range of sectors, including manufacturing.
The new manufacturing strategy, A Manufacturing Future for Scotland, outlines how government will work with industry and with higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, improve productivity and increase investment in Scottish manufacturing in order that it can better compete globally.
Commenting on the announcement, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:
“A circular economy provides an opportunity to support the competitiveness of our manufacturing base and attract investment – through eradicating waste, and becoming more efficient in our design and manufacturing processes to extend product life-cycles.
“The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Service will offer vital support to manufacturers that are seeking to develop processes and products that improve the economic performance of SMEs while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, in line with Scottish Government and EU policies.
“The Scottish Government will shortly publish our circular economy strategy – Making Things Last – which will set out in more detail our priorities for delivering the economic, environmental and social benefits of a more circular economy.”
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said:
“This is a welcome announcement from the Scottish Government and great news for Scotland. We’re delighted that we’ll be using our expertise to deliver such a ground-breaking programme.
“This new funding and support package will push boundaries in business innovation to develop circular models that will keep products in use for longer and ultimately save precious raw materials and resources.
“This makes great economic as well as environmental sense. By investing now, the Scottish Government is putting down foundations to build an ever more sustainable future – one that is resource efficient and most definitely circular.”
The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Service will be fully operational from 1 April 2016. Zero Waste Scotland is now inviting expressions of interest from small to medium sized businesses (including third sector organisations) in priority sectors such as manufacturing, food and drink, energy infrastructure, construction, re-use, remanufacturing, repair and reprocessing.
For more information and to register interest in applying for funding or support through the new circular economy programme, please visit www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/circular-economy