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Scottish companies could save £2.36 Billion a year by reducing waste costs

The Scottish Government-funded waste and resources advice body says that implementing no-cost and low-cost measures to use resources more efficiently can save up to one per cent of a company’s turnover. That would equate to over £2 billion if all of Scotland’s businesses took the same approach, according to the latest data available.

28 Feb 11

According to Zero Waste Scotland firms could also cut water and effluent bills by up to 50 per cent and reduce their energy bills by up to 20 per cent by changing their approach to waste.

With an annual turnover of £119bn, the services sector could stand to make the biggest savings of all – almost £1.2bn. Checking for leaks, identifying materials that can be reused, switching off electrical equipment, and working more effectively with their supply chain by arranging deliveries on the same day as other firms in the local area, are all achievable steps to boosting the bottom line.

The manufacturing sector could make savings of around £454m according to Zero Waste Scotland. One simple step for manufacturers could be taking the environment into account at the design stage of a product - ensuring it will be longer lasting, reusable and recyclable at the end of its life.

As the largest user of resources that generates the most waste, the Scottish construction industry could see financial savings of over £170m simply by implementing a site waste management plan at the start of a project, resulting in less waste being sent to landfill and a welcomed boost to profits.


Iain Gulland, director of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“Businesses must overcome the perception that going green adds cost – the opposite is true. Those companies that have addressed their environmental performance with even small changes have measured savings in their bottom line – which could hit as much as one per cent of turnover.

“Reducing waste is an ongoing process. You have to determine a benchmark against which you can measure future progress, and constantly identify cost-effective opportunities to prevent and reduce waste. The companies that are always setting themselves new targets are the ones that save the most money.”

However, Zero Waste Scotland says changing business culture is often the last priority for businesses whose focus is aimed at surviving difficult economic circumstances.

Iain Gulland added: “Changing the behaviour of your employees and even senior management is a very tough challenge. People get used to the status quo and don’t like to be out of their comfort zone. Failure to overcome those issues – or an unwillingness to address them – is undoubtedly a major barrier to greater corporate waste reduction in Scotland.”

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