Business at heart of Scottish resource plan
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The Scottish government has pledged to boost finance for recycling facilities and provide firms with more tools and advice on improving resource efficiency
The devolved administration has published a new action plan outlining how it aims to drive Scotland’s transition to a circular economy. Safeguarding Scotland’s resources includes details on support for businesses to become more resource efficient and encourage greater reuse, refurbishment and remanufacturing of products.
The Scottish government has also confirmed that it is increasing the amount of finance available to recycling firms through its plastics loan fund from £2.5 million to £3.8 million. The fund provides loans for plant, machinery and groundwork to support an increase in the country’s plastic recycling capacity. In the plan, the Scottish government is also considering extending the finance scheme, with the aim of boosting the reuse of other materials, including textiles and waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE).
The government has pledged to work with businesses to improve the implementation of the producer responsibility regime, “to better support recycling”, as well as examine the possibility of introducing similar measures for products not currently covered by the legislation.
Many of the government’s plans to support firms will be delivered through its Resource Efficient Scotland (RES) programme, which was launched in April and offers advice on how to use energy, water and raw materials more efficiently.
RES will be responsible for: developing more guidance and tools to help businesses; sharing best practice; investigating the possibility of introducing standards for remanufactured goods; and designing a system for companies to publicly pledge to lower their waste output.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency, meanwhile, is to produce new guidance on the regulatory requirements for remanufacturing activities, and to consider resource use during inspections of organisations with the greatest environmental impacts.
And, while legislation mandating site waste management plans (SWMPs) for large construction projects in England and Wales is about to be scrapped, the Scottish authorities are pledging to support their wider use. The action plan states that “consistent use of SWMPs” could save the construction sector £170 million a year and confirms that the devolved government aims to develop new “resource management plans”, which will include the design stage of construction in a bid to further improve resource efficiency.
“The Scottish government is committed to creating a more productive and circular economy and reduce our dependency on raw materials,” commented environment secretary Richard Lochhead in launching the new plan.
“Safeguarding Scotland’s resources is an important step towards being a zero waste nation, but its success will depend on how businesses and individuals respond to the challenges we face and the opportunities we want to create. We want to galvanise people behind our zero waste vision and to work with us to make it a reality.”
The new plan came as Zero Waste Scotland updated its carbon metric measuring the environmental impact of waste. According to its new calculations, Scotland’s waste in 2011 generated 14 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
In a separate announcement, Scottish climate change minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed that the administration was making available an extra £10.3 million for community projects aimed at cutting carbon emissions.
The funds will ensure that Scotland’s climate challenge fund (CCF) will continue to operate until March 2016. The CCF, which was launched in 2008, has so far awarded £52 million in grants to 612 projects across Scotland.
The latest round of funding includes a £64,000 grant to help five East Lothian primary schools cut their emissions by growing food on allotments, and £25,000 to install insulation and draft proofing at Lismore Hall in Argyll and Bute.
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