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New government-backed scheme

Loans for SMEs to cut waste and save money

Ronnie LeggettScottish businesses can benefit from a new funding programme which will help improve their efficiency and environmental credentials.

Two new funds supported by government-backed Zero Waste Scotland are aimed helping SMEs hire someone on a short-term basis to take on a project with a specific focus on energy, water or raw material efficiency or waste prevention.

Businesses can also borrow from the programme, Resource Efficient Scotland, to install biomass boilers, upgrade lighting, insulating or more efficient equipment to reduce raw material use and waste production.

Loans are available from £1,000 to £100,000 and in most cases are interest-free.

It is estimated that by taking simple steps to improve resource efficiency, businesses in Scotland could save up to £2.9 billion.

Marissa Lippiatt, head of the Resource Efficient Scotland programme, said: “Making resource efficiency a priority doesn’t just benefit the environment, it can also lead to cost savings and a real competitive advantage.

“We know that time, money and expertise can often be perceived as a barrier, particularly for small businesses.  These funds can help overcome some of these barriers, and I hope to see businesses taking this opportunity and making progress in becoming more sustainable.”

One firm that has benefited from the scheme is Scotherbs of Longforgan which is making annual savings of almost £100,000 after commissioning an external consultant to undertake a six month project to reduce waste across the entire supply chain, using funding from the SME Implementation Fund.

The project saw a 8,205kg reduction in herb waste within six months, as well as additional savings from packaging and labour.

Another firm, the Boat Hotel, Boat of Garten, will save £16,650 and 115 tonnes of CO2 annually, thanks to interest free funding from the SME Loan Fund.  This was used to replace the existing oil-fired boiler with a biomass boiler which can be fired with locally sources wood chips or pellets.

Ronnie Leggett, Managing Director, Scotherbs said: “Scotherbs is an important business within the Scottish food and drink sector, with growing sales across the UK marketplace expected to increase by 40% in the coming year and 20 new roles being created.

“Waste, cost and resource efficiency is vital to us – supporting future competitiveness and meeting customer needs. Thanks to the invaluable help and expert advice from Resource Efficient Scotland, the savings and the reduction in herb waste we’ve made have been fantastic.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small organisation or large – there are ways to cut your resource use and waste, and experts at Resource Efficient Scotland can help businesses do that.”

For information or to apply for a Resource Efficient Scotland SME Loan Fund, visit http://www.resourceefficientscotland.com/content/interest-free-loans-£1000-£100000-available

For information or to apply for a Resource Efficient Scotland Implementation Fund, visit http://www.resourceefficientscotland.com/resource/resource-efficient-scotland-res-implementation-fund-201516

Picture: Ronnie Leggett of Scotherbs

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