The research, undertaken by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS),revealed that waste produced by distilleries could have “intrinsic economic value”.
ZWS gathered data from published reports and interviews, and discovered that more than four million tonnes of bio-based waste and by-products are produced by the whisky sector each year.
The body identified a variety of new uses for such by-products, and claim these could “boost the economic value of the waste streams”.
Suggestions include converting draff and pot ale into “high-value biofuels, chemicals, and higher nutrition animal and fish feeds”, extracting proteins to use as a human food supplement, and removing copper from pot ale as a metal to be recycled.
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of ZWS, told Resource: “Our latest report highlighting the tremendous potential of the circular economy examines how key sectors of Scotland’s economy can reap big benefits from adopting more circular practices, particularly with regard to making better use of industrial by-products elsewhere in the economy, not just discarding them.
“Keeping these leftover materials in productive use for as long as possible is a great example of the circular economy in action.
“Zero Waste Scotland is focused on helping industry and agriculture realise these opportunities, to the overall benefit of the Scottish economy and jobs, through targeted work with the bio-economy sector and other key sectors in Scotland as we continue to work to unlock the benefits of the circular economy.”