Earth Overshoot Day, The Waste Tyre Challenge & partnering with SEPA

At Entrepreneurial Scotland we are committed to putting entrepreneurial thought into action, helping to address real life challenges and find ways to turn them into business opportunities.

Did you know that the modern tyre was invented twice, both times by Scots, over a hundred years ago? Even though tyres are omnipresent and currently indispensable for the economy, they also pose a big environmental challenge. Whilst some of the compound materials of tyres can be re-used, waste tyres present a major environmental problem. In fact, it has been estimated that 100 waste tyres are discarded every 15 minutes in Scotland alone. This translates into 40,000 tonnes of waste tyres annually!

Although for many this may seem like an insurmountable problem, for the entrepreneurial this must be seen as an opportunity. At Entrepreneurial Scotland we are committed to putting entrepreneurial thought into action, helping to address real life challenges and find ways to turn them into business opportunities. We have therefore embarked on an exciting new partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), and we are going to task the 2017 cohort of Saltire Fellows with formulating entrepreneurial solutions to the waste tyre challenge.

Our partnership with SEPA was officially launched on 2nd August which fittingly marked Earth Overshoot Day for 2017. This is the date by which humanity's resource consumption for the year exceeds the Earth's capacity, highlighting that we are now running at a resource deficit for the rest of the year.  To raise awareness of our depleting resources and the environmental impact of waste tyres in particular, we have dedicated the day to discussing how to best address this issue.

Throughout the day, we discussed the importance of ownership and the fact that each player needs to play their part. We all need to be proactive and focus on helping to reach a solution rather than waste our energy looking for who is to blame. In fact, as part of the Zero Waste Scotland workshop we focused on brainstorming practical, actionable ideas and the room was buzzing with pledges to take action and reduce the use of tyres. In fact, SEPA have pledged to reduce their use of cars by 40% within one year!

What still remains clear, though, is that the underlying issue of waste tyres remains complex and must be addressed through creative, innovating thinking on a large scale. Our Sal-TYRE Fellows have a big challenge ahead of them but we cannot wait to see what they propose to resolve the waste tyre challenge!