The fund seeks to encourage environmental innovation, and is open to Scottish SME’s wishing to pilot, trial or develop ideas in product, service and packaging design, “which will significantly impact on waste reduction and help reduce the harmful greenhouse gases that damage the environment”.
WRAP estimates that UK food, drink and packaging waste totals 18.4m tonnes per year and costs the UK supply chain 17bn in terms of waste generation.
Asked whether Zero Waste Scotland really thought ₤100,000 ($122,700) would make a big difference in cutting waste, communications manager Nicola McGovern told FoodProductionDaily.com: “This is a more or less a second wave of funding, an extension of another fund we launched in October 2011.
He added: “But it is an area that we will be continue to invest in. So it could be that more becomes available in subsequent years.”
Food freshness label trialed
ZWS is funded by the Scottish government, and awarded over ₤240,000 of funding last October to support innovation that cuts waste, with one of the firm’s supported in the F&B sector UWI Label.
The subject of a FoodProductionDaily.com article in February 2011 , UWI Label is now market-testing a smart label on selected food and drink products; this displays the time that has elapsed since the product has been opened and thus avert unnecessary disposals.
Pete Higgins, Founder and CEO of UWI Technology, said: “The timing of the Zero Waste Scotland funding could not have been better as we endeavour to develop our UWI Label for commercialization.
“This pilot study will give direct feedback from consumers, which in turn allow us to validate the label’s potential and assist with its ultimate adoption by food manufacturers and supermarkets as a positive solution to reduce consumer wastage.”
Reusing spent caustic?
Other previous grant recipients, via a separate SME Waste Prevention Fund include Celtic Renewables, which uses a patented fermentation technology to produce biobutanol, an advanced biofuel for use as a direct petrol replacement.
This project is initially focusing on the malt whisky industry as a sustainable feedstock source.
Elsewhere, and of direct interest to food manufacturers, enviro-tech firm Albagaia is also testing a new form of treatment technology to remove chemicals from spent caustic (alkaline-based cleaning solutions) reducing overall energy usage and allowing it to potentially be reused.
The Scottish Government has high hopes for its SME grants, and Zero Waste Scotland predicts that future innovation and technology could be worth up to ₤8.4bn for Scotland’s low-carbon industries by 2015, and create up to 100,000 jobs.
Environment secretary Richard Lochhead said the new fund reflect the Scottish Government’s “zero waste plan aiming to reduce the amount of waste produced, ensure that more packaging and products can be recycled and contain as much recycled content as possible”.