The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has entered into a strategic partnership with Entrepreneurial Scotland with the aim of tackling waste tyres as an environmental issue.
The new partnership announced at the “Global Tyre Challenge” event on Wednesday, will challenge entrepreneurs to find sustainable new business opportunities for waste tyres over the next five years.
The “Global Tyre Challenge” saw waste experts, business innovators and entrepreneurial leaders with SEPA, Entrepreneurial Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland meet today at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre.
SEPA has also committed to developing a Sector Plan which will set out targets and actions with the aim of directly tackling the waste tyre problem in Scotland and criminal behaviours, such as illegal dumping, the industry can attract.
Terry A’hearn, chief executive of SEPA, said: “The partnership between SEPA and Entrepreneurial Scotland taps into the most creative assets at our disposal to find some truly innovative approaches to reduce or reuse the number of waste tyres circulating in our economy.
“By working together, we have the potential to create economic opportunities that provide tangible benefits for environmental and social success in Scotland.”
James Stuart, managing director of Entrepreneurial Scotland, said: “Partnering with SEPA is a fantastic example of how collaboration can solve real challenges and support Scotland in becoming the most entrepreneurial society in the world.
“Our Saltire Fellows are without a doubt the right candidates to take on this challenge.
“In the coming months this year’s cohort will spend time at Babson College in Boston and be immersed in entrepreneurial thinking.
“That entrepreneurial thinking will then focus on viable solutions to combat the waste tyre challenge.”
Stuart added: “The businesses of tomorrow will need to be much more resource efficient going forward and we believe that entrepreneurial thinking will be the key to unlocking Scotland’s potential and the way to successfully address some of our, and the world’s, biggest challenges.”
The announcement comes on Earth Overshoot Day for 2017 – the date in the year human consumption exceeds earth’s resources, meaning the world will be running at a resource deficit for the rest of the year.
Earth Overshoot Day was devised by the New Economic Foundation think tank, and in its first year of measuring consumption, 1987, Earth Overshoot Day fell on 19 December.
Between 1990 and 2010, Earth Overshoot Day moved three calender months but slowed in the last seven years, falling on 21 August in 2010 and then easing back to 27 August in 2011 before falling again in each of the subsequent years and to 8 August last year.
Commenting on the SEPA – Entrepreneurial Scotland partnership, Iain Gulland, chief executive for Zero Waste Scotland, said: “This is an exciting move from SEPA and partners, not only to tackle the significant problems created by unwanted waste tyres, but to look at opportunities for new business development, through a circular economy approach.
“A circular economy is one where resources or products are redeveloped for new purposes, not simply thrown away or dumped, and the economic and environmental potential for Scotland of exploiting these opportunities and leading the thinking, is huge.
“As Scotland’s expert on the circular economy, Zero Waste Scotland is delighted to be part of this event with SEPA and Entrepreneurial Scotland and we look forward to coming up with some innovative solutions to this problem.”