Businesses increasingly recognise that operating sustainably is now high on the list of demands from consumers, who are increasingly interested in how services and products are sourced and delivered to them.
This has translated into a growing recognition of the need to “go greener”, with the current focus on plastic pollution being just one example.
But the challenge to engage with, and be part of, the circular economy – keeping materials in high value use for as long as possible – need not be daunting for businesses.
The Scottish Government developed a strategy in 2016 to move the country towards a more circular economy and its two key elements are: to develop a more comprehensive approach to producer responsibility and drive choices for reuse, repair and remanufacture, while more fully exposing and addressing the costs of recycling and disposal; and to reduce all food waste by 33% by 2025 – the first such target to be set in Europe.
It can in fact unlock opportunities to grow and innovate. Just ask Edinburgh-based Vegware.
Vegware supplies the food industry with compostable, plant-based packaging and disposables as well as operating a composting collection service and an environmental consultancy, winning over 60 awards for sustainability – twice winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. This success has led to the company frequently featuring as one of the UK’s fastest growing, with regular reports of double digit turnover growth.
Joe Frankel, Founder of Vegware said: “The scale of opportunity is massive. Businesses across all sectors can incorporate the circular economy into their business models, and in the future we are likely to see legislative changes which drive this anyway.
“Greener policies and actions are expected to extend a business’s visibility and appeal to consumers, saving them money in the long term. By encouraging sustainability, these eco-friendly policies will assist in future proofing business too.
“Food contamination is a big problem in recycling. Card or plastic with food on it can’t be recycled. Our solution is that we offer plant-based compostables, designed to be recycled along with food waste. Instead, Vegware products such as compostable coffee cups, cutlery and burger trays help create quality compost that in turn plays an essential role in soil health and food security. This provides an alternative to non-recyclable, single-use packaging combining plastics and card, and takes away the need to remove food from its packaging before recycling.
“Last year in Scotland, we launched our own composting collection service, which collects used Vegware products and food waste. As an Edinburgh business, it feels great to know that we are helping other local businesses, including Union of Genius and Pumpkin Brown, move towards zero waste.
If Europe moved towards a more circular economy, it could generate over £1.4 trillion of annual benefits by 2030 – that’s a huge scale of opportunity.
Circular Edinburgh is a joint initiative delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. Circular Edinburgh complements Zero Waste Scotland’s nationwide support for SMEs to develop circular economy business ideas, including its £18million Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Business Support Service.
For further information please visit https://www.edinburghchamber.co.uk/circular-edinburgh/
or contact Mayan Grace or Aileen Boyle on 0131 221 2999 (option 5) or email firstname.lastname@example.org