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News & Blog

What is the Circular Economy?

Posted: 14th May 2018

The World’s resources are not limitless and we must stop our throw away culture and make resources last as long as possible.

The Scottish Government published ‘Making Things Last – A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland’ in 2016 which set out the Scottish Government’s priorities for moving towards a more circular economy – where products and materials are kept in high value use for as long as possible.

The circular economy is one that’s sustainable, and as much as possible eliminates waste. But it’s more than that. It’s an all-encompassing approach to life and business.

It’s about developing new business models, designing products more smartly, remanufacturing and reprocessing to create new products from old, and repairing what we can – all to keep products and materials within the economy for as long as possible.

Benefits to the Scottish Economy:

  • Scotland wastes 1.4 million tonnes of food every year. Just taking into account food wasted at home which could have been eaten, that’s £1.1 billion worth of good food going in the bin.
  • By using by-products from our food and drink sectors to create higher-value products, including bio-fuels or advanced proteins, we could generate an additional £500-800 million a year for Scotland.
  • Remanufacturing is already contributing £1.1 billion per year to Scotland’s economy and has the potential to grow by a further £620 million by 2020, adding 5,700 new jobs.
  • By 2050, a more circular economy could reduce carbon emissions by 11 million tonnes a year.

(Source : Making Things Last – A Circular Economy Strategy for Scotland by the Scottish Government 2016 )

Benefits to your company:

  • Save your business, customers, and suppliers money
  • Capture more value from your materials and resources
  • Develop new markets and gain new customers
  • Build loyalty with your customer base
  • Satisfy changing customer needs and expectations
  • Increase the security and price stability of your supply chain
  • Attract, retain, and engage your employees
  • Build your brand and reputation as an innovative organisation
  • Exceed government regulations and stay ahead of new requirements

There are currently significant funding opportunities and support for SMEs that are interested in investigating circular economy opportunities. Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce are managing Circular Edinburgh which is funded by Zero Waste Scotland who supports work that will deliver circular economy growth. It is supported by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

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

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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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