Funding available for innovative circular economy ideas

Scottish manufacturers with innovative circular economy ideas are being urged to access up to £1m of funding currently available from Zero Waste Scotland to unlock new business opportunities.

The concept of the circular economy was first raised by two British environmental economists, David Pearce and Kerry Turner - image courtesy of Pixabay.
The concept of the circular economy was first raised by two British environmental economists, David Pearce and Kerry Turner – image courtesy of Pixabay.

The circular economy is one built from products and services deigned to keep materials in use for as long as possible. It’s a concept growing in prevalence and harnessing the opportunity could see manufacturers realise considerable economic and environmental benefits.

It means radically rethinking and reapproaching the manufacturing process –  from design, to manufacture, disassembly and then remanufacture.

Scotland has risen to become recognised as a world-leader in the shift to a circular economy, having this year won the Circular Economy Nations and Regions Category at the high profile Circulars Awards.

Manufacturing is identified as a key sector with the greatest opportunity to deliver circular economy benefits for Scotland in the Scottish government’s Making Things Last strategy. As such, manufacturing is a key target for Zero Waste Scotland’s £18m Circular Economy Investment Fund (CEIF). Applications for this round of funding are due to close on 12 September, 2017.

The potential benefits for individual businesses of taking forward circular ideas are vast – helping companies deal with resource pressures and, through new business models, opening up sustainable new business opportunities.

The fund offers investment for SMEs based in Scotland and supports work that will deliver circular economy growth. It’s backed by funds from the Scottish government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).  Rethinking for the circular economy forms the basis of Zero Waste Scotland’s commitment to Scotland’s manufacturing action plan, which is being led by Scottish Enterprise.

The CEIF is open to applications from manufacturing projects which encourage:

  • Re-use and repair
  • Collaborative business models, e.g. business hubs for shared equipment
  • 3-D printing or additive manufacturing processes to enable local repair services and create self-sufficiency
  • Designing and manufacturing of modular products for easy maintenance and repair
  • Remanufacture
  • Replacing products with services, and developing new, circular services

Chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, Iain Gulland explained: “This is an opportunity to gain financial support for innovative new ideas that generate growth, as well as driving a more circular economy in Scotland. There are huge potential benefits for both the businesses themselves and the country as a whole.”