The zero or low-interest funding can be used to invest in measures that will produce carbon savings or optimise water, energy or materials use.

SMEs can be considered for the loans once they have obtained a qualifying report through Resource Efficient Scotland, or a non-domestic Green Deal assessment.

To date, over 500 firms have benefited from loans to improve their energy efficiency.

In addition, 8,500 businesses have accessed advice and support from Resource Efficient Scotland since the spring, while almost half a million pounds of savings for businesses have been identified so far if businesses choose to implement the suggested changes.

Energy minister Fergus Ewing encouraged more to follow this lead given Scotland’s new resource efficiency action plan, launched yesterday.

The Safeguarding Scotland’s Resources Plan expands on the country’s Zero Waste Plan, identifying actions to shift the focus onto waste prevention and resource efficiency. It promises to “reinvent waste as resource and financial asset” to the nation’s economy, which could save Scotland’s businesses and organisations £2.9bn.

Help for businesses will include expert advice on how to manage materials, as well as the provision of more tools to help companies assess their resource use. A new tool has already been created to help firms understand the impacts of their waste in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

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