For the past 18 months, along with Amsterdam, Glasgow City has been undertaking a pioneering initiative to become the world’s first circular urban hotspot. This initiative, called the Circle Cities Program, is run in partnership with the Dutch based circular oriented organization – Circle Economy.

This week, Glasgow City Chambers announced that they are now entering the second phase of the pioneering Circle Cities Program. The first phase involved scanning the city for the biggest opportunities to close waste loops in major industries, which, in the case of Glasgow, is the food and drink sector. A series of pilot projects were then devised and run to explore how these loops may be closed, with examples including making beer from waste bread, aquaponics and capturing waste heat from bakeries. The second phase aims to ride on the wave of success from the pilot circular projects and significantly expand the number of businesses in the city applying circular economy.

One of the success stories highlighted from the first phase was the company Jaw Brew. Jaw Brew run a craft brewery based in Glasgow that recognized what appeared to be a massive opportunity to use leftover morning rolls from the nearby Aulds Bakery. So they began testing by literally throwing a few rolls into the brewing process and watching what happened. They even found a recipe from over a thousand years ago outlining how to make beer from bread.

Glasgow City

Jaw Brew’s new beer, Hard Tack, made from leftover morning rolls.

The results were astonishing. What they realized, from this trial and error method, was that the morning rolls allow for the taste and consistency of beer to remain while reducing the percentage of alcohol to around 2.2%. This opens a big window into an emerging market of low percentage beer drinkers. In addition, the use of leftover bread significantly reduces their resource costs and reliance on more expensive grains. They resulting beer – named Hard Tack – is a nod to the type of bread served on royal navy ships.

The second phase will involve direct support from circular experts using the Circle Economy business support tool which quickly helps businesses diagnose how their current practices match up to circular objectives. The tool looks at seven key areas that affect the circularity of any business. In addition to support from the likes of the City Chambers and the Circle Economy business support tool, businesses based in Glasgow City will get support from the broader circular economy ecosystem in Scotland, such as access to the £17 million ($21,195,600) Circular Economy Investment Fund and the Circular Business Support Service from Zero Waste Scotland.

Glasgow City

Circle Economy’s Business Support. Courtesy of Circle Economy.

This pioneering initiative has seen significant interest from other cities in and around Scotland, demonstrating the key role cities will play in driving progress.