Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has granted £70m to a new programme to develop and grow Scotland's circular economy as part of a package of measures to boost the country's manufacturing sector.
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 £70m of investment, including £30m from the European Regional Development Fund, which will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy.
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 European Union 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.”
The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Service will be fully operational from 1 April. Zero Waste Scotland has invited expressions of interest from small to medium-sized businesses in priority sectors such as manufacturing, food and drink, energy infrastructure, construction, re-use, remanufacturing, repair and reprocessing.
Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, Iain Gulland, 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.”