The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has partnered with a network of Scottish entrepreneurs to develop new business models that deal with waste tyres.
The agency announced a ’Global Tyre Challenge’ with Entrepreneurial Scotland to find “sustainable new business opportunities for waste tyres during the next five years”.
Entrepreneurial Scotland runs the Saltire Fellowship Programme, which develops individuals’ leadership skills.
Sepa said that around 100 tyres become waste every 15 minutes in the country, and there was “mounting pressure” to find environmental solutions to the problem.
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, US, and be immersed in entrepreneurial thinking.
“That entrepreneurial thinking will then focus on viable solutions to combat the waste tyre challenge.”
Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, 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.”
Sepa also said it will create a sector plan that will include targets for tackling waste tyres and illegal dumping.
In January 2016, former Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead said rules that allowed operators to process a small number of waste tyres would be overturned.
This followed a number of serious incidents involving unlicencsed operators, including a case where more than 100,000 tyres were illegally stored near a Lanarkshire hospital.