Zero Waste Scotland made the call for expressions of interest at the close of the Circular Economy Hotspot, an international circular economy business event held from 30 October 30 to November 1 in Glasgow. The funding is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Scottish Government. 

Estimates suggest that the amount of food which could have been eaten but instead is thrown away by food service outlets is equivalent to one in six meals.

Research indicates that up to 75 per cent of food waste from the food service sector could be avoided and a staggering £166 million could be saved through food waste prevention in the hospitality and food services sector alone. 

Grants of up to £1 million are available for projects that will drive forward innovative, transformational, cost-effective and collaborative approaches to keeping food-based products in high value use, or to reducing waste in the food supply chain. 

One exemplar food waste prevention project is Jaw Brew’s HardTack beer, which is made using leftover bread from Aulds bakery.

The beer was included in the Taste Festival, which closed the Circular Economy Hotspot and showcased some of the food and drink businesses already making progress in cutting waste and turning what could have been thrown away into valuable products. 

Iain Gulland, Zero Waste Scotland chief executive, said: “Cutting down on food waste isn’t just good for the planet, it’s good for business, too.

“The Circular Economy Hotspot has showcased some of Scotland’s best circular economy businesses to a global audience and we know there is huge economic potential for businesses with ideas to reduce food waste.

“We hope that by highlighting this funding we will encourage more SMEs to come forward with innovative ideas to cut waste and create new business opportunities. When it comes to food waste, there is no trade-off between doing the right thing for the climate and doing the right thing for your business.” 

Small and medium sized businesses are invited to submit an expression of interest on the Zero Waste Scotland website.