EPA announces €600,000 green stimulus fund for innovators & SMEs

  • A circular economy must be part of Ireland’s green recovery supporting job creation, generating economic growth; and improving our environment.
  • This EPA fund provides an opportunity for business and companies to innovate in areas such as food waste, plastics and construction and demolition to provide new products and services.
  • A circular economy is based on waste reduction, reuse and recycling and can be part of a new growth strategy for Ireland.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launches a €600,000 funding opportunity for Irish innovators to develop and demonstrate business-ready solutions for the circular economy. Circular businesses reduce costs by reusing & recycling materials already in use; and build vibrant, new businesses. The EPA’s Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy programme supports organisations to develop and demonstrate new circular economy approaches.

Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said:

“We are at a pivotal point for our economy and the recovery steps we take now will shape Ireland for the next decade. Moving to put circular principles at the core of our economic model offers the opportunity to rebuild our economy, generate new jobs and respond to climate change. As we emerge from national lockdown, a ‘green’ recovery stimulus provides a unique opportunity to generate lasting economic activity that does not over-burden the environment and waste our limited resources. The Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy programme provides funding to companies and other organisations that want to stimulate and implement circular economy practices in Ireland.”

As Irish businesses look ahead, they need to align with consumer demand for less resource intensive products and services. Green Enterprise is a key support for this transformation and is tailored to stimulate innovation for sustainable products and services. Applications are invited from businesses within the Food, Construction & Demolition, Plastics and Resources & Raw Materials sector for projects that aim to increase efficiency of materials and avail of opportunities for reuse & recycling to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Mary Frances Rochford, Programme Manager, EPA Office of Environmental Sustainability said:

“Developing the circular economy is a strong and effective climate action. The circular economy is a cornerstone of the EU Green Deal, which is transforming Europe’s economy towards a sustainable future and empowering our commitments to be climate-neutral by 2050. Our Green Enterprise programme supports innovators to develop & demonstrate circular initiatives to drive growth and secure the future for Ireland’s SMEs.”

A ‘circular’ economy reduces waste throughout the economic cycle, and ensures that materials are used efficiently.  The transition to a circular economy will create opportunities for innovative organisations to build new businesses based on avoiding use of disposable items; extending product lifetimes; and finding new uses for by-products.

Innovation improves competitiveness and fosters new business opportunities and so is core to growth and development of small and medium-sized enterprises. This programme is an important driver of Ireland’s move to a more circular economy and supports SMEs and other organisations to transform their business models.

Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy is a flagship initiative of Ireland’s National Waste Prevention Programme. Further information on the National Waste Prevention Programme and the funding call Green Enterprise – Innovation for a Circular Economy is available on the EPA website.

The National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP) is a Government of Ireland initiative, led by the Environmental Protection Agency and funded by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The NWPP was established in 2004 and has led many innovative programmes driving waste prevention and circular economy. The programme provides tools and information to businesses, households and the public sector to influence behavioural change and support sustainable choices.

circular economy aims to reduce waste at all stages of the economic cycle and ensure materials are used as efficiently as possible. It challenges us to move from the current linear economic model of Take-Make-Use-Dispose to a more efficient and low-carbon circular economy. Waste prevention, a central concept of the circular economy, challenges us to review our existing design, production, distribution and consumption of products.

Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy builds on the EPA’s successful Green Enterprise programme which since 2001 has supported a wide range of organisations to complete environmental projects. This funding initiative provides a bridge from academic research to commercial, transferable and scalable solutions that will deliver a circular and low carbon economy in Ireland. The call documentation is available on the EPA website.

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