It's accepted knowledge that if the whole world lived like we do in Scotland, we'd need three planets worth of resources to sustain us. That's not just an environmental problem - it's a major issue for businesses. Coupled with the geopolitical challenges on the horizon - from Brexit to China's plastic recycling import ban - and it's understandable that firms are feeling some anxiety. But running an economy on fewer natural resources is a problem that Zero Waste Scotland is determined to crack.

We have already seen the cost of raw materials become a big concern for Scottish businesses. Back in January, a Scottish Chamber of Commerce survey revealed that 87% of businesses were anxious about the rising costs of raw materials and their impact on prices.

Responding to these pressures requires big ideas and new ways of doing business. And new ways of thinking are at the heart of the circular economy that Zero Waste Scotland is working with businesses across Scotland to deliver.

We want to help build an economy where resources are valued. It’s a message with an environmental heart but also a hard-headed business sense. As materials become more scarce and costs more prohibitive, the need to make sure we keep them in circulation for as long as possible and extract their full potential economic and social value becomes more urgent.

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But this challenge has also inspired some great creative thinking. Zero Waste Scotland’s business support service is designed to help companies with big ideas explore more circular ways of doing business which can result in resource efficiencies, improved profitability, higher quality products, increased customer base and alternative supply chains for your business. This support has already helped more than 100 SMEs in Scotland.

One business to benefit from this support has been EGG Lighting, who are working to reduce the waste in LED lighting. LED lighting is much more energy efficient than the old fluorescent-style lights that used to be common place in most commercial and industrial buildings. However, with the technology advancing at a rapid rate, regular upgrades are leading to high levels of material waste. What makes this all the more frustrating is that while entire units were being disposed of, the technological changes only affected a small part of the physical infrastructure.

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EGG Lighting had a smart solution to this problem. They designed a modular system that allowed businesses to keep using the same fittings and replace only the parts that were essential for accessing the new technology.

For six months, EGG has been working with the Scottish logistics, construction and distribution specialists W H Malcolm to put their modular approach to the test. The trial has been supported by Zero Waste Scotland, with support from European Regional Development Funds and the Scottish Government.

EGG is pioneering a service model that would see businesses continue to receive regular upgrades to the technology, but without having to replace the entire unit. That way, they get the benefits of the latest LED technology, without constantly forking out for new lights and without having to dispose of the entire unit.

Zero Waste Scotland also offers support through the Circular Economy Investment Fund, which has delivered more than £4m in support to businesses across Scotland, again with support from the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund. This funding has helped bring the latest 3D printing technology to Scotland, turn used coffee grounds into valuable bio-oils and kick start the creation of a transformational plastics recovery plant in Perth.

From reducing costs to unlocking new markets, there are clear economic benefits in adopting a more circular approach to resources, products and services. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you make them happen.

The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change
partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email

In association with . . .

A non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government oversees environmental regulation, monitors and reports on the state of the environment, raises awareness of environmental issues, and resolves environmental harms

A publicly-funded organisation working towards a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. It attempts to influence and enable change by gathering evidence, supporting positive projects and providing technical advice and training.

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Organiser of conferences and events aimed at addressing the current carbon reduction position, enabling those leading and driving policies and proposals to share their vision, and highlighting Scotland as the best place in which to invest in low-carbon businesses.

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A Scottish Property Factor with nationwide coverage. Newton have ambitious plans to help future proof their customers’ properties, making them greener, cleaner and more energy efficient resulting in significant savings in running costs

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