Glasgow's circular economy
Matt McGeehan CA belongs to Glasgow. In this article, he examines a pioneering collaboration aiming to make this vibrant city’s economy more circular.
Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city with a population of almost 600,000 and it adds £18 billion annually to the Scottish economy. It has a skilled workforce of 400,000 and is the most important UK financial centre and retail destination outside London. It hosts more conferences than the other six Scottish cities combined and its airport carries 7 million passengers to 90 destinations. It is truly a commercial powerhouse.
A pioneering collaboration
Circular Glasgow is a pioneering collaboration between Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Circle Economy, Zero Waste Scotland and Glasgow City Council which aims to make the city a more circular economy.
It began with a Circle City Scan, from which a four-stage approach was developed:
In assessing economic and political will, the scan identified that three key sectors: education, manufacturing and health, collectively provide 117,500 jobs and a quarter of Glasgow’s economic value. In terms of environmental impacts, manufacturing was identified as having the greatest circularity potential, particularly within the food and beverage sector.
Nine tangible circular strategies were identified in the Bakery, Farming & Fish and Beer & Spirits sectors and the stakeholders focussed on four of these.
- Bakery Heat Recovery: heat from bakery ovens can be recovered through heat exchangers, producing energy savings of up to 30%.
- Farming & Fish Aquaponics: combining fish growing with soilless crop production can save 90% of the water used in traditional farming.
- Bread to Beer: using bread waste as a yeast substitute in the beer brewing process reduces food waste and saves a third of the yeast used in the brewing process.
- Beer to Bread: spent grain from the brewing process can replace up to 50% of the flour used in the bread baking industry.
With several successful case studies already demonstrating the benefits for business of more circular ways of working, the next phase of Circular Glasgow will be to broaden its reach, working with other sectors to help them realise circular economy opportunities.
Embracing the circular economy
Glasgow is renowned for its pioneering spirit in trade and commerce. Through embracing the circular economy at the heart of its policy agenda, Glasgow has identified opportunities to increase its productivity and improve its economic output by using its resources in a more sustainable way.
Louise McGregor, Head of Circular Economy at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “Circular Glasgow is an innovative approach that encourages local businesses from a wide range of sectors to work together to maximise circular opportunities, whilst delivering them significant benefits”.
Circular Glasgow is an innovative approach that encourages local businesses to work together to maximise circular opportunities.
Louise McGregor, Head of Circular Economy at Zero Waste Scotland
Successful implementation of the action plan could pave the way for national initiatives benefitting the wider Scottish economy.
You can find more information at Circular Glasgow.
Editorial credit: Targn Pleiades / Shutterstock.comv