Delivering economic opportunities and environmental benefits through resource efficiency

A photograph of windmills at a Scottish windfarm

Key points:

A more circular economy will benefit

  • The environment by cutting waste and carbon emissions.
  • The economy by improving productivity and opening up new markets.
  • Communities by providing new local employment opportunities and lower cost options to access the goods we need.

A circular economy fosters innovation and encourages the development of business models which re-use products and materials and create value where before there was waste. Zero Waste Scotland are encouraging the development of innovative new circular economic business models such as that developed by Moock Environmental that can potentially be used in high value industries and turn a waste product into an economic opportunity. We want Scotland to be involved in driving circular economy opportunities across all sectors of the economy.

We are taking action as a Government to enhance recycling, including designing a deposit return scheme which will deliver a step change in our recycling rate, prevent littering and create new opportunities within the Scottish economy. This will create an economic opportunity for both the reprocessing of material and its subsequent reuse by company’s keen to respond to consumer interest in more recycled content.

We will support the trials and introduction of low or zero emission planes operating between airports across the Scottish Highlands and Islands, with the first such trials taking place in 2021. In collaboration with Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, we will also aim to create the world’s first zero emission aviation region through a new programme of activity to decarbonise airport operations, infrastructure and flights across the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

We will decarbonise Scotland’s passenger rail services by 2035. In Spring 2020 we will set out detailed timescales and actions for how we will achieve this. Where we cannot electrify or it is inappropriate to do so, we will invest in battery‑powered trains and work with developers of hydrogen fuel cell trains to accelerate their development and deployment through practical trials in Scotland.

Our investment through to 2035 will result in greener, faster, more reliable and more resilient rail services which will encourage more people to use public transport and result in better connected places within Scotland and beyond.

In conjunction with the Scottish National Investment Bank, the bus sector and potential investors we will work to explore the potential for new forms of patient and innovative financing to radically accelerate the pace of deployment of zero emission buses across Scotland.

Case study: Urban Foresight puts the wheels in motion on e-bike project

Urban Foresight is a smart city consultancy based in Dundee, which helps cities deliver environmentally-focussed services such as electric vehicle charging, is working on innovative projects such as the UK’s largest e-bike scheme.

The company, which received Regional Selective Support, moved to larger office space in August 2019 to expand its team just a year after establishing a base in the city.

One of its major projects is the Mobility Innovation Living Laboratory (The MILL), a £2 million programme delivered on behalf of Dundee City Council to make Dundee a test-bed for transport innovations.

The company is working closely with RideOn, a Spanish company, to bring 400 e-bikes to Dundee - thought to be one of the biggest bike sharing schemes of its kind in the UK.

Infrastructure for the project is starting to go into the ground and a soft launch will take place in 2020 once the planning process is complete.

Projects being trialled by The MILL also include Scotland’s largest smart parking project – a fleet vehicle sharing platform for public sector organisations and a car club that allows easier access beyond designated bays. Urban Foresight director Rachel Beeton said the company was forecast to grow the 11 employees years, having already grown from a team of one to eight in a year. She said: “We look forward to working on more projects that improve lives, protect the environment and boost local economies, not just in Dundee but across Scotland and globally too.”

We will also seek to phase out the use of horticultural peat by increasing uptake of alternative growing media substrate by working with sectoral representatives, consumer groups and those industries with ancillary interests in horticultural peat to develop a plan for the sector to work towards alternatives to horticultural peat.

The Just Transition Commission has been established and has begun its work considering how Scotland’s move to a net-zero economy can be done in a way that maximises the economic and social opportunities presented by the transition. The remit and membership of the Commission can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/groups/just-transition-commission/

We will work with business, the public and the third sector to develop guidance so more people are encouraged to eat more locally-produced, sustainable and healthy food that supports our aims on climate change.

Key resources:

Zero Waste Scotland