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Be Bold – Circular Economy can Transform Business

Posted: 11th September 2018

A circular economy looks to keep the flow of materials and products within the economy for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use.  It’s where businesses, industry and consumers work together to make things last. Here we look at a city business set to make great strides:

An innovative business that aims to transform the way we manage food waste believes commercial funders should be bolder in backing commercial spin outs born from Scotland’s world-class university biotechnology research.

IntelliDigest, spun-out by academics from Heriot Watt University, is itself going through a funding process to get its ground-breaking work to full commercialisation by this time next year.

The company has tackled a major issue.  Currently, we only recycle 43-44% of our food waste, leaving over 6 million tonnes to rot, and emitting Greenhouse gases.

Currently, businesses generating food waste pay for it to be collected by waste management companies and sent to large scale recycling centres. UK figures show that 8kg of carbon dioxide is emitted per truck tonne of food waste collected for recycling. Zero Waste Scotland has reported an estimated 1.35 million tonnes of food is wasted north of the Border each year, a figure the Government wants to cut by 33% by 2025.

Ifeyinwa Kanu , Director of IntelliDigest Ltd said: “Our ethos is on efficiently converting every biodegradable waste to high value resource at the earliest possible time, capturing the whole resource in them, reducing greenhouse gas emission, and promoting the circular economy.

“Our automated food waste recycler, IntelliAD, has been developed to recycle food waste onsite to produce a high value biogas.  This biogas is then converted to clean energy and bio-based chemicals (succinates) sold to chemical companies.”

“We make recycling easy and beneficial to all – the user, the wider chemical industry, and the environment.”

The company has approached and worked with several major stakeholders in hospitality and food sector who incur considerable inconvenience and costs in removing waste, signing several for trials with others keen to progress the relationship.

They are seeking £250,000 in seed funding to complete their prototype and trials, ready for commercialisation by late 2019. The business projects a further investment of £3,000,000 help them achieve a turnover of £30,000,000 in five years.

Ifeyinwa Kanu added:

“The scale of opportunity for circular economy businesses remain endless as businesses endeavour to reduce their carbon footprint by remanufacturing, applying predictive maintenance to ensure things last longer, leasing and offering incentivised return. The positive is that circular economy creates more revenue stream for the business who take the bold step to embrace it!

“Every business could improve on the current approach of make use and discard to a more sustainable process/approach where things are re-used or made to las longer.

“Scotland can become a global leader in circular economy as Scotland has massive potential in research but greater access to funds will help to move from that stage of proof of concept to commercialisation.”

Circular Edinburgh is an initiative funded by Zero Waste Scotland, supported by funding from both the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme. Circular Edinburgh delivers a programme of knowledge sharing events, workshops and roundtable discussions to promote the “Circular Economy” to local businesses.

For further information please visit or contact Mayan Grace or Aileen Boyle on 0131 221 2999 (option 5) or email



Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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