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Zero Waste Scotland launches £18m Circular Economy Fund for business

Scotland’s circular economy experts Zero Waste Scotland today (Friday 18th March) launch 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.

18 Mar 16

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   


Notes For Editors

Editor’s Notes

  • Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Circular Economy strategy and other low carbon and resource efficiency policy priorities. We are helping Scotland to become more efficient in its use of resources. We are supporting progress towards Scotland’s ambitious zero waste targets and enabling Scottish society to reap the benefits of more efficient use of resources.
  • More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk . You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland though via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | Google Plus | LinkedIn
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. The ERDF allocation is part of a targeted approach investing European funding to develop a resource-efficient, greener and more competitive economy in Scotland. For further information visit our website or follow @scotgovESIF.
  • The Scottish Government’s Circular Economy strategy, Making Things Last, is available here The Manufacturing Action Plan is available here
  • Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.



Elvis and Kresse

The firm was established to solve environmental problems, waste problems in particular. The business started with fire-hose and now reclaims more than 10 different materials.

Elvis & Kresse have been reclaiming heroic materials ever since we fell in love with London Fire Brigade's decommissioned fire-hose. After a distinguished career fighting fires and saving lives the hoses were destined for landfill. We started to rescue it in 2005 and never looked back.

More materials soon followed, Kresse has always had an obsession with waste and likes nothing better than discovering and intercepting something new. The challenge is the same every time - what can we do to prove value, change perception, and respect these resources.

We dream of a time without landfill, when everything is recycled or composted. Between now and then we know there are far too many incredible materials that will either languish under ground or suffer the indignity of incineration; when that happens we lose, we lose quality, narrative, and the opportunity to do something great. So we intercede, choosing story laden materials of incredible character, and do everything we can to ensure their second life is as long as possible.

We are constantly searching for more materials to grow our range of bags, belts and wallets, and have rescued over 200 tonnes so far.



Brand-rex is a leading global supplier of high performance structured cabling systems for data networks, connecting the IT equipment in our offices and datacentres.

In 2013, Brand-Rex piloted a Circular Economy project to recycle cabling infrastructure at its end of life. Working collaboratively with both customer & recycling firm, two datacentres were decommissioned, segregating the materials from site, recovering >90% of the materials.

Brand-Rex are taking the circular economy approach to cabling solutions and systems in the built environment, where at the end of the cabling lifetime or in a building demolition, the products are recovered and the precious metal (Copper, Gold, Nickel) plus any rare metal and polymeric compounds can be recycled back into either the cabling raw material chain or to be a provider of these material to the local economy where the recovery of the products takes place. Our initiatives also investigate the reuse or remanufacture of certain products prior to recycling as they may be suitable for alternative markets.

Brand-Rex circular initiatives will allow global natural resources to be preserved, reduce processing energy and these materials to ideally be upcycled into the next generation of cabling solutions, which support the exponential growth of data that is transported across the globe.

Our urban mining approach will provide a model for long term business partnerships within all markets and customers with growing data needs. For example, datacentres, education, financial institutions and government. This circular economy model can be replicated within the built environment, will secure future raw materials, eliminates waste to landfill and help grow our business in the right way.



CelluComp is a material science company producing Curran® -a nano-fibre product made from agri-food streams from root crop. As a mechanical enhancer with thickening properties, this product can be used to improve properties in many different products, such as paints & coatings and concrete.

Founded by material scientists Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale, CelluComp produces a product called Curran® (Gaelic for carrot), which makes use of nano-fibres contained within food processing by-products including root vegetables and sugar beet. CelluComp operates a small scale production facility in Glenrothes.

Operational since March 2015, production looks set to expand. Facilities of this size could be replicated all over the world and co-located with feedstock providers such as sugar processors or with Curran® users e.g. paint manufacturers.

At present, the main feedstock is sugar beet pulp, a by-product of sugar processing commonly used for animal feeds. Curran® is produced from this renewable feedstock using green chemistry processes including water-based reactions at low temperatures and pressures which maximise the energy efficiency of the manufacturing process.

As a result, Curran® has lower unit energy consumption than that of other paint thickeners and reduces the environmental impact from food processing residues. Curran® is produced as a granulated product powder alongside residues which are high in sugars and polysaccharides. CelluComp is currently exploring options to develop further products from these residues ranging from animal feeds to commodity chemicals.

Circular economy benefits

There are many circular economy benefits associated with Curran® in addition to its energy efficient manufacturing process. The business model used to produce Curran®, extracts value from a relatively under-used biological resource, increasing its economic value by an estimated factor of 50.

The food processing residues used by CelluComp would otherwise be sold as a supplementary feed for livestock.

The production of Curran® involves extracting the nano-fibres in the root vegetable pulp and leaves behind the carbohydrates and proteins. Although currently under-utilised, CelluComp is looking into the best use of this residual material, either directly as an animal feed or indirectly by extracting further high value compounds which can be sold as commodity chemicals or processed into biofuels.

Effectively, CelluComp is introducing a new and profitable use for a bio-based material, and has the potential to offer further opportunities based on its own processing residues. By processing the residues from Curran® manufacturing into other high-value materials or animal feeds, CelluComp can further demonstrate a range of uses for bio-based resources which further enhances economic value and embeds the circular approach.


For media enquiries contact:

Claire Munro, PR Manager
t: 01786 239791
m: 07702976594
e: claire.munro@zerowastescotland.org.uk

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