Reducing waste could save Scottish firms £2.36 billion

17th March 2011

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Scottish companies could save a cumulative £2.36 billion annually by implementing no-cost and low-cost measures to use resources more efficiently, says a new report from Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS).

According to the Scottish government-funded waste and resources advice body, firms in Scotland could cut water and effluent bills by up to 50% and reduce their energy bills by up to 20% by changing their approach to waste.

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, says ZWS.

“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 1% of turnover,” comments Iain Gulland, director at ZWS.

The body says the service sector could benefit the most, saving around £1.2 billion, while manufacturers in Scotland could make £454 million of savings and the construction industry more than £170 million of savings.

It advises manufacturers to take the environment into account at the design stage of a product by ensuring it will be longer lasting, reusable and recyclable at the end of its life, and says construction firms should implement a site waste-management plan at the start of a project, as such an approach would result in less waste being sent to landfill and provide a welcome boost to profits.

Meanwhile, a new report from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency lays out for the first time the raw material supply risks facing Scotland. The report lists the top 12 materials that are critical to the Scottish economy and are likely to be subject to supply shocks in the short to medium term, as well as the seven sectors of the economy that are most at risk, some of them low-carbon technologies. The raw materials on the list include aggregates, cobalt, copper, phosphorous, and rare earth elements. The industries most susceptible include food and drink, chemicals and electronics.


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