Category Archives: Circular Economy

The Importance of Bioeconomy

Bioeconomy uses biotechnology and natural resources to produce things like bioplastics, animal feed, medicines, cosmetics, sustainable fuels. It must be recognised (if it’s not yet) as an instrument to create new industries at the forefront of sustainability and circular economy approach.

The UK has available resources from agricultural industry, dairy industry, whisky industry, food industry and so on, so it should take advantage of the development of bioeconomy to create new materials and products. By replacing materials and products made with fossil fuels, obvious climate/environmental benefits both in the production phases and in end of life scenarios is clear.

The bioeconomy is growing rapidly and is here to stay (hopefully). Various very interesting and innovative projects are happening, such as The Whisky Project which is led by the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC), co-funded by Zero Waste Scotland, details here:

But is the regulatory system for the development of such innovative projects in the UK fit for purpose?

Such projects need a regulatory system (for example planning and permitting/ licensing) that is proportionate and appropriate to its rapid development. Regulations and guidelines do not always keep pace with rapid developments, and legal requirements can be disproportionate for the scale of such developments. This could potentially limit the adoption of innovative technologies.

Bioeconomy project developments which are mostly built after extensive research at labs tend to initiate its operation as small trials then building up to small scale operations. They cannot be hindered by excessive costs and excessive regulatory burden. On the contrary, regulatory controls should be proportionate for such innovative projects to enable them to overcome barriers, thereby creating opportunities and incentivising growth.

Such projects must have a supportive regulatory system available that eases their development. After all, we want (and need) such projects to be incentivised, don’t we? The Agencies and Councils’ planning departments, for example, must work together with bioeconomy stakeholders to ensure the regulatory system is appropriate, ensuring such innovations are not stifled. While of course maintaining relevant legal requirements for the protection of the environment.


If you have any questions or want to fin out more, you can contact our expert senior consultant Stella Consonni: 

Important Industry Updates

Scottish Government Updates

Single Use Plastics ban now in force in Scotland!

Officially in force from the 1st June 2022, Scotland has become the first part of the UK to implement the ban on problematic single-use plastics. Under this ban, it is now an offence for businesses in Scotland to manufacture or supply single use plastic items including:

  • single-use expanded polystyrene beverage cups;
  • single-use expanded polystyrene beverage containers;
  • single-use expanded polystyrene food containers;
  • single-use plastic cutlery;
  • single-use plastic plates; and
  • single-use plastic beverage stirrers.

For an extensive list and more details, read more from the Scottish Government here.

Incineration Capacity Limits

The Scottish Government has decided that no further planning permission for incineration facilities will be approved. In a recent update they stated, “New national planning policy will be introduced through National Planning Framework 4, which will be presented to the Scottish Parliament for approval later this year. This policy will make clear that the Scottish Government does not support the development of further municipal waste incineration capacity in Scotland, with very limited exceptions.”

Click here for more information.

Updates from Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

Special Waste Consignment Notes

SEPA is now accepting special waste consignment notes (SWCNs) by email only. All completed notes should be sent to

This is a step towards the digital waste tracking service which will be implemented across the UK, and also contributes to SEPA’s net-zero goals.

For full guidance on consigning special waste in Scotland, read the updated documentation here.

If you have any queries about the updates and how they may affect your business, you can get in touch with us at

To keep up to date with more updates, follow us on social media.

COP26 Series

Integrating sustainability into your business strategy

Doing our part

Albion Environmental operates to a combined Environmental, Quality and Occupational Health & Safety Management System to the standard of  ISO 14001:2015, ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 respectively.

Albion Environmental successfully renewed their accreditation with BSI to each of these standards after a successful audit in the summer of 2021, and continue to maintain these standards throughout all business operations.

Operating in accordance with ISO standards allows Albion to ensure we are putting our workers, customers and the environment first.

The pressure is on for businesses to look at their strategy and objectives to ensure they are considering the impact they may be having on the environment.

So what have we been doing?

Albion Environmental Ltd has environmental protection at the core of our business strategy (the clue’s in the name), and have been operating an Environmental Management System to ISO:14001 since 2009, initially accredited through NQA and more recently BSi, who audit and ensure our compliance to these standards annually.

This means we have been setting environmental targets for 13 years and continue to transition to more sustainable, innovative and efficient methods of working.

Implementing an Environmental Management System such to ISO:14001 has been greatly beneficial to Albion and the wider environment as it helps to minimise the company’s environmental footprint, diminish the risk of pollution incidents and ensure complete compliance with environmental legislation. Complying with these standards not only provides operational improvements but ensures we are becoming a more sustainable business.

Our company vision is to “be an industry leading consultancy, utilising knowledge and innovation to develop sustainable solutions”.

We continue to develop our environmental objectives and take part in nationwide initiatives to fight against climate change.

Albion have signed the SME Climate Hub Commitment, setting ambitious environment targets for our business to reach over the next few years.

We are one of thousands of SME’s who have pledged to,

  1. Halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
  2. Achieve net zero emissions before 2050
  3. Disclose our progress on a yearly basis

By committing to set targets, businesses can begin making progress towards change and we can all start seeing the benefits sooner rather than later.

In addition, Albion have included more specific environmental targets in our new business strategy, which we started making progress towards throughout 2020/2021. We have promised to;

  • Switch all company vehicles to hybrid or electric by 2025
  • Install solar panels to power the Albion office
  • Cut our total emissions produced by business activities in half by 2030

Albion Environmental continue to build our business to work and offer services which encourage sustainability throughout all industries. We have set ambitious targets for ourself and are encouraged to see businesses across Scotland and the UK doing the same.

SME Climate Hub Members
Bsi Members

Clean Air Day 2021: What You Need to Know About The Air You Breathe

Today, Thursday 17th June 2021, is Clean Air Day.

Clean Air Day, led by Global Action Plan, is the UK’s largest campaign against air pollution. This year, Clean Air Day is expected to engage thousands of people at real-life events and reach millions through online media. The campaign is of great importance, as poor air quality causes lung and heart diseases, birth defects, issues with children’s lung development, and perhaps also contributes to mental health problems.

In fact, air pollution is the greatest environmental risk to human health. The World Health Organisation states that air pollution kills around 7 million globally each year – and 4.2 million deaths are a result of outdoor air pollution. Financially, Public Health England estimated that in 2017 air pollution cost the NHS and social care system over £42 million.

The main causes of outdoor air pollution are traffic emissions, with power generation, agricultural processes, and waste management practices also contributing. Recently, wildfire smoke has become a greater contributor to air pollution levels, as a result of climate change. Additionally, removing vegetation within urban areas can worsen the impacts of air pollution.                         

All of these problems are contributing to dirtier air, and as cities continue to develop and grow, such issues must be countered. The UK Government reports on air pollution levels annually, and many urban UK areas are repeatedly found to have illegally high levels of air pollution.

There was a brief respite in air pollution levels in 2020, as the first Covid-19 lockdown was instated. However, as lockdown was relaxed levels increased again, and now air pollution levels show little sign of dropping. Studies have suggested that air pollution makes the impacts of Covid-19 worse – yet, the pandemic is causing many UK local authorities to scrap or reduce their Clean Air Zone plans.

Air pollution is a major problem facing the world today – and one that is not being given the appropriate attention and urgency it requires. Clean air ought to be a basic need, but it is often being thought of as a luxury, with harmful air pollution levels mostly affecting poorer communities, and those living in the developing world. This needs to change.

There are many commitments companies can make to help reduce air pollution levels. Lowering vehicle emissions is a great start, and can be done by transitioning to electric vehicles and encouraging staff to use greener modes of transport (e.g. through cycle to work schemes). Another good step is to follow the principles of the circular economy and ensure that clean energy is being used.

Here at Albion, we have been working towards raising awareness of dust and bioaerosols (airborne microorganisms – such as bacteria and fungi – or tiny fragments of larger organisms), both of which can be harmful outdoor air pollutants. Through a KTP project on bioaerosols, we are also expanding consultancy capacity for monitoring and reviewing bioaerosol concentrations, which is a major issue with organic waste management and intensive animal farming systems. To find out more about our bioaerosol services, click here.

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The other week, our KTP Associate – Jennifer Kowalski – was invited to attend Science at The Parliament in Edinburgh. This is what she had to say about the event:

The theme for this year’s Science and the Parliament event was sustainability, which is a really interesting, and also a topical subject. There was also a focus on resource consumption, since The Royal Society of Chemistry are celebrating the International Year of the Periodic Table. The periodic Table (which gives details of all of the elements that make up every single thing on the planet) was created back in 1869. In the 150 years that has passed since then, a lot has changed in regards to the way we use these elements.

Back in 1869, technology was still in its infancy, and many potential functionalities of our chemical elements were yet to be discovered. Now however, we use many elements extensively, to the point that some are at risk of running out – and within a single lifetime!

In the UK, 1.5 million phones are upgraded every month. Current trends mean that most people want the newest and flashiest gadgets, which has created a situation in which many old phones just sit around in peoples drawers, serving no useful purpose and wasting valuable resources. It has been predicted that we could run out of Indium within 20 years – this is a rare metal that is an essential component of liquid crystal display (LCD) screens. This also means that it is a necessary component for touchscreens, and without touchscreens we wouldn’t have smartphones. A few decades from now, will people in the UK be ready to give up their smartphones?

I think that the attachment that many people have with their own phones can only grow stronger, especially as will the use of social media and apps as a tool for making a living, or increasing business avenues, expands. As such, it is evident that, as a society, we need to start taking better care of our belongings right now.

If we are not careful, an element that we could lose altogether is Helium. Prior to the talks at this event, I was really only aware of a select few uses of this gas – such as balloons and blimps. Yet it turns out liquid helium is the “lifeblood” of MRI machines. When used in MRI’s, helium then tends to be recycled, which is important. Why? Well, helium is the only element that is capable of floating up through the air as a gas, and then escaping completely into outer space, upon reaching the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. And when helium is used to inflate balloons, it often eventually leaks out into the air, where this is exactly what will happen.

If we continue using balloons at the rate we do now, we could fully exhaust our supply of this gas in roughly 100 years. We now need to decide whether having helium wrapped in shiny plastic at parties and functions is worth our great grandchildren being unable to receive an MRI when they need it.

Whilst our use of science and technologies is clearly a critical topic, it is not the only sustainability-related area that this event focused on. The day wouldn’t have been complete without hearing from some MP’s, to see what the parliament is actually doing about the key issues in sustainability. This came in the form of an MSP Panel which focused on sustainability and the climate emergency. The politicians present discussed their views on certain issues including the use of Genetically Modified Crops; changes to the cars we use in Scotland; and what they actually intend to do to help prevent a climate breakdown.

With the increasing urgency of the latter of these subjects, and how little has been done so far to combat this (at least, in comparison to what needs to be done) it can often feel like scientists do not have a voice. Which of course, is very frustrating for anyone within this profession, and for anyone who is interested in it, or cares about it. Yet, this is what makes events like Science and the parliament so important, as it can foster collaboration between different areas of science through networking, and it allows a chance for communication between politicians and scientists.

Here at Albion, we are taking sustainability and environmental impacts more and more seriously. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn or twitter to see some of our posts and blogs on this theme, for example, our 12 days of a more environmentally friendly Christmas posts.