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Food pilots to lead Glasgow's circular economy drive

The potential for healthcare, education and manufacturing in Glasgow to adopt a circular economy (CE) approach has been assessed in detailed study of the city.

The City Circle Scan of Glasgow was commissioned by a partnership of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce (GCC), Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) and Glasgow City Council to consider how the city can develop new business models while reducing the its environmental impact.

Netherlands based social enterprise group Circle Economy analysed the healthcare, education and manufacturing sectors which support 17,500 jobs and a quarter of the city’s total economy value.

Manufacturing, with an economic value of around £329.7m, was identified as having the greatest CE model, particularly within the food and drink sector.

Circle Economy found four sub-sectors which could benefit the city:

  • Using bread waste in the beer brewing process, saving one-third of resources
  • Spent grain from brewing can be used to replace up to 50% of the flour needed to produce bread in the baking industry
  • Heat from bakery ovens can be recovered and redirected to boilers by using heat exchangers, saving 15%-30% of the energy currently used in the process
  • Growing fish combined with soil-less crop production, leading to a 90% saving in water use in comparison with traditional farming

The GCC is working with supportive businesses in the food and drink sector, and the first year will include four pilot projects and identifying the key participants required to build a working CE model.

Alison McRae, senior director of GCC, said: “This cutting edge City Circle Scan has brought into focus how the chamber can support local businesses, and champion the CE in Glasgow to ensure it becomes an important part of the overall economic ambition for the city.

”It is clear that any city needs to consider opportunities for the CE across its business base to maintain or improve its competitive advantage.”

Iain Gulland, ZWS chief executive, said: “Scotland has set ambitious goals to become a more circular economy, because this approach can deliver continued economic growth while ensuring that natural resources are managed sustainably. It’s a key ingredient of long-term business success.”

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