Examples of what a circular economy could mean for Scotland in practice were on show yesterday (8 October), at the second day of the Scottish Resources Conference.
Organisations already being supported to adopt more circular practices themselves – or encourage networks and key sectors to do so – featured prominently, including Falkirk lighting leasing firm Juice, Forfar-based Ogilvy Spirits and The Scottish Leather Group.
Developments in sectors as varied as bio-economy and textiles were also outlined, including the presentation on opportunities within the oil & gas sector based on a new evidence report set to be jointly published by Zero Waste Scotland and the Royal Society of Arts and Manufacturing.
The Conference also represented an opportunity to discuss issues to feed into the Scottish Government’s consultation on the circular economy, Making Things Last, which closes at the end of this month.
Circular Economy Package
Setting Scotland’s progress within a broader context, European official Kestutis Sadauskas addressed day two of the Scottish Resources Conference, organised by CIWM and Zero Waste Scotland, where he discussed European ambitions for a circular economy and revealed that the much-anticipated EU Circular Economy Package is due to be published on December 2.
Scottish Government Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead (pictured) said: “We are making progress in Scotland with regard to realising the exciting opportunities presented by the circular economy, and looking at how we make the best use of our precious resources and make things last – a principle that we can apply form everything from our clothing to industrial processes in key industries. The business opportunities for Scotland are tremendously exciting and its great to see such a range of companies highlighted at this event.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead – “I look forward to hearing as broad a range of views from as many people as possible on how to maximise the benefits which a circular economy will have for Scotland, both economically and environmentally”
“I look forward to hearing as broad a range of views from as many people as possible on how to maximise the benefits which a circular economy will have for Scotland, both economically and environmentally.”
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland, said: “I’m delighted to welcome an EU representative to the Scottish Resources Conference, to hear his international perspective on the circular economy, and to be able to share our examples of circular economy business development which are happening here in Scotland.
“We aren’t only discussing the possibilities for change, we’re exploring these exciting new business opportunities, such as that with the oil and gas sector being outlined today by RSA. We are keen to examine how Zero Waste Scotland can help these businesses thrive, and others to adopt circular models that will ensure a sustainable future, both economically and in terms of our all-important stewardship of resources.”
North Sea Oil and Gas Rig Reuse
The RSA and Zero Waste Scotland also presented early findings from their North Sea Oil and Gas Rig Decommissioning & Re-use Opportunity Report, which found that the potential for reuse in the sector, particularly around the decommissioning of rigs, is “significant.”
It found that the potential benefits of adopting circular economy principles within the oil and gas sector in Scotland would be to:
- reduce the environmental impacts associated with recycling/disposal of materials;
- reduce the net cost of decommissioning
- develop new oil and gas industry sub-sectors which could offer additional job creation opportunities for supply chain companies in a lower oil price economy.
Sophie Thomas, director of Circular Economy at the RSA, who address the conference today, said: “The RSA Great Recovery has been working closely with Zero Waste Scotland to identity opportunities in where a more circular approach could bring increased opportunity and value into sectors.
“Our report North Sea Oil and Gas rig decommissioning and re-use opportunity is the first of our publications. By working with key stakeholders in the circular network we have developed a series of recommendations that are based on practical auditing and cross sector business creation. There is untapped value and great opportunity for Scotland to develop a world-class circular industry around oil and gas rig decommissioning.”