Small businesses in Scotland are being offered up to £50,000 of government funding to redesign their products to improve resource efficiency and cut waste

Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has launched a £100,000 fund, aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to trial new product designs that will significantly cut their environmental impacts.

The SME waste prevention innovation fund is open to firms to pilot or develop design ideas that will make their products, services or packaging more environmentally friendly, either by cutting primary use of resources, reducing the amount of waste generated or by making resources easier to recover.

The new scheme is one of a series of competitions created to support the Scottish government’s target to divert 95% of the country’s waste from landfill by 2025, and recycle 70% of waste.

“Working with the SME community to develop innovations focused on waste reduction is absolutely integral to achieving Scotland’s zero waste ambitions,” said Iain Gulland, director of ZWS, as he launched the fund. “Not only does [cutting waste] hugely benefit the environment, but it can provide substantial cost savings if efficiently managed.”

Scottish environment secretary, Richard Lochhead, welcomed the launch of the new initiative saying it would help to build on the innovative approaches already being taken by Scottish businesses.

ZWS has also revealed the details of four companies that have been awarded £240,000 through other finance programmes supporting innovative efforts to cut waste and improve recycling, including Celtic Renewables, a new company working on a fermentation process to convert waste from whisky distilleries in into a biofuel.

“This support from ZWS is crucial in enabling us to commercialise our technology,” said Mark Simmers, chief executive of Celtic Renewables.

Other successful bidders include UWI Technology, which has developed a smart label for food and drink products that aims to cut food waste by telling consumers exactly how long items have been open, and Codbod which is creating a cloud-based IT service to help organisations better manage data on waste, water, greenhouse-gas emissions and energy.

SMEs interested in accessing the SME waste prevention innovation fund have until 31 October to apply and should aim to have their project completed by 27 September 2013.