GLASGOW bakeries are being asked to turn their bread into beer to save resources and cut costs.
Businesses are being asked to follow the example of West Brewery which already turns spent grains from its brewing process into flapjacks and other bar snacks which it sells throughout Scotland.
The call is the result of a study into how the city can become a “circular economy”.
Only the second city in the world to be assessed in such detail, the research shows that Glasgow has the potential to be a global leader in the circular economy with the food and drink sector showing the most opportunities.
A circular economy is one in which things are designed and made to last, where products, materials and components are recirculated continually, so that the maximum possible value from them is reaped and nothing is wasted.
If implemented it would mean that every stage in the life-cycle of a manufactured product would ensure the raw materials of that product could be fully recovered and recycled, or even upgraded, into new products. The ideal result would be both financial gain and zero waste.
Carried out by Netherlands based social-enterprise Circle Economy, the study and follow-up report addresses how Glasgow can develop new business models which lead to collaboration, market opportunities and increased profits, while reducing the city’s environmental impact in the process.
It analysed three of the major economic sectors within the city – healthcare, education and manufacturing. Together they provide 17,500 jobs and a quarter of the city’s total economy value.
With strong stakeholder links to the private business sectors combined with an economic value of around £329.7m, manufacturing was identified as having the greatest circular model, particularly within the food and drink sector.
Examples include saving one third of resources by using bread waste in the beer brewing process and using residual streams from brewing (spent grain) to replace up to 50 per cent of the flour needed to produce bread in the baking industry.
There is also the science of aquaponics – a promising technology in which the growing of fish is combined with soilless crop production, leading to a 90 per cent saving in water use in comparison with traditional farming.
On the strength of the report, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce now aims to support four practical pilot projects.
“It is clear that any city needs to consider opportunities for the circular economy across its business base to maintain or improve its competitive advantage,” said senior director Alison McRae. “Working closely with our partners in the city we intend to consider these emerging opportunities with vigour.’’
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland said the approach was a “key ingredient” of long term business success.
“Scotland has set ambitious goals to become a more circular economy because this approach can deliver continued economic growth whilst also ensuring that natural resources are still managed sustainably,” he said.
“This new partnership with Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is an important step to get businesses on board with this exciting vision, helping them take steps to become more circular – for both the benefit of the individual business and Scotland’s broader economy”.