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Safeguarding Scotland’s Resources

Scottish businesses could save £1.4 billion per year.

27 Jun 12

An innovative programme to encourage people to save money by wasting less and reusing more has been launched today by Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead. 

The Scottish Government’s ‘Safeguarding Scotland’s Resources’ consultation is proposing ambitious targets to cut Scotland’s total waste from households and businesses by 5 per cent by 2015 and 15 per cent by 2025. 

For Scottish householders, who are currently estimated to produce over 2.8 million tonnes of waste every year, reducing waste thrown out by 15 per cent is the equivalent of cutting out over 6.7 million wheelie bins full of waste. That’s enough waste to fill over 40,000 refuse trucks. 

The business-focused proposals aim to tap into the estimated potential to save up to £1.4 billion per year by using raw materials more efficiently and cutting waste. 

The consultation also considers phasing out free carrier bags to encourage people to reuse bags and help cut litter.

A new lightweight bottle of The Famous Grouse was unveiled by Edrington at the consultation’s launch. The bottle, weighs just 340 grams marking a 14% weight reduction previously not thought possible while retaining premium features like embossing and engraving.  The new bottle is set to be rolled out across the UK this winter, an initiative which will save Edrington 587 tonnes of glass every year.  

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead, who helped unveil the new lightweight Famous Grouse bottle, said: 

“The challenge is to minimise the resources we need to deliver the quality of life we have come to expect, while reaping the economic benefits. This programme is about helping Scottish businesses become more competitive, about helping Scottish households cut costs, and about helping to preserve our environment for ourselves and for future generations.  

“This new Famous Grouse bottle is a great example of how businesses can be more environmentally friendly whilst retaining their high standards.” 

Marissa Lippiatt, Head of Business Resource Efficiency of Zero Waste Scotland, the organisation set up by the Scottish Government to deliver its Zero Waste Plan, said:

“No one likes to see things that could be put to good use going to waste.  Preventing waste saves money and ensures we make the most of the resources we have.  Many of the raw materials we currently rely on are running out.  Using less now could safeguard our future, and it’s also the best option for the environment.

“Scottish businesses stand to save up to £1.4 billion by taking simple steps to prevent waste and use resources more efficiently.  The Scottish Government’s proposed waste prevention targets will encourage businesses  to realise these savings and boost Scotland’s economy.”

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Director of operational and technical affairs at the Scotch Whisky Association, said: 

"The Scotch Whisky industry is committed to delivering long term sustainability. The implementation of its industry-wide Environmental Strategy is key to achieving this. The strategy sets ambitious targets, for example to reduce use of fossil fuels and packaging materials in partnership with its supply chain."

Glen Gribbon, Director of The Famous Grouse at Edrington, said: 

“Edrington is acutely aware of its responsibilities to the environment and is an active participant in efforts by the Scotch Whisky Association to keep its promises and to reduce the impact of packaging on the environment. At The Famous Grouse we are constantly innovating so it’s great to see Scotland’s favourite whisky leading the way with such an initiative.”

Business case study

The attached photo shows Richard Lochhead, Marissa Lippiatt and Glen Gribbon, Director of The Famous Grouse, showcasing the lightweight bottle of The Famous Grouse.  This is a prime example of how businesses can innovate to become more efficient in their use of resources and energy.

The bottle marks a technical first for a premium whisky bottle, weighing in at 340 grams - a 14% weight reduction previously not thought possible while retaining premium brand features like embossing and engraving.  Set to be rolled out across the UK this winter, the new bottle will save 587 tonnes of glass every year.  If this was rolled out across the whisky industry, over 58,000 tonnes of glass could be saved annually.

The event, held at Edinburgh's Scottish Malt Whisky Association, also gave the group a chance to see how The Famous Grouse whisky bottle has changed since the 1920s.   As well as the 340 gram glass bottle design, five other bottles were on display, showing a reduction in weight by 100 grams between 1925 and 2010.   

Bottle specifications (l-r):

Bottles (l-r) Bottle weight Year of circulation
1 500 grams 1925 - 1940
2 400 grams* 1992 - 1998
3 400 grams 1998 - 2004
4 400 grams 2004 - 2010
5 400 grams 2010 - Present
6 340 grams* UK roll-out planned late 2012


*Weight reduction achieved due to introduction of narrow neck press and blow (NNPB) technology, which allows for savings of up to 30%

**Weight reduction achieved by technical achievements made by the Edrington Group.

Summary of the consultation

Key elements of the consultation include:

  • Measures to support business and public bodies to save on waste and materials, including delivering a single business resource efficiency service for Scotland.  
  • Improving the way producer responsibility measures for packaging operate to capture more for recycling in Scotland. 
  • Introducing Zero Waste Pledges, encouraging businesses to commit to waste reductions and take the credit for their actions. 
  • The consultation also puts forward proposals for requiring retailers to charge for single use carrier bags, with the proceeds going to good causes. This is about encouraging us all to reuse bags.

Further details can be found here - http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Consultations/Current

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