Glasgow Embraces Pioneering Circle City Scan Approach

Circle Economy’s Circle City Scan shows that adopting circularity can spike job creation, increase resource efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions throughout the City of Glasgow

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case study

The City of Glasgow is on the road to becoming one of the world’s first circular cities. The city has taken its first steps in creating  a stronger more sustainable economy by completing the Circle City Scan. Commissioned through a partnership between Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, Zero Waste Scotland and Glasgow City Council, an analysis of the city’s material flows was executed by Circle Economy.

This pioneering study of Glasgow’s economy, identified leading industries through which the city’s economy can become more ‘circular’ and defined implementation strategies and opportunities for the region’s business community. The goal of the Circle City Scan is to pinpoint areas in which the city of Glasgow can benefit from new collaborations, create market opportunities and increase profits, while reducing the city’s environmental impact. The resulting report highlights sectors in which circular business models can be applied and specifies strategies to accomplish the practical and scalable implementation of these circular solutions.

The real benefits of the circular economy, recognised by Glasgow, is that it allows economic growth, prosperity and security by reducing the city’s unhealthy and harmful dependency on scarce natural resources. Circular thinking will inspire companies to increase their raw material efficiency by keeping the resources they use in circulation for as long as possible and to recover products when they are no longer being used by the consumer to act as inputs in a new cycle. Glasgow sees this new approach as a solution to create  improved product quality, economic growth, jobs and ultimately a future proof, more resilient city.

“This study has brought into focus how the Chamber can support local businesses, and champion the circular economy in Glasgow to ensure it becomes an important part of the overall commerce in the city.’’

– Alison McRae, Senior Director of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

A Practical Roadmap for the Implementation of a Circular Economy

An extensive analysis of the city of Glasgow’s economical and political landscape showed that the healthcare, education and manufacturing sectors are pivotal to maintaining the city’s welfare. Combined, they provide 117,500 jobs and a quarter of the city’s total economic value. By mapping the city’s resource flows from consumption to waste, the food and beverage sector was identified as having the greatest circular potential. The report offers a practical and scalable roadmap to implement pilot projects within this sector and identifies several circular strategies that have the potential to boost employment opportunities and strengthen Glasgow’s economy.


Practical examples illustrated in the Circle City Scan include the implementation of heat recovery methods of local bakeries and breweries, resulting in a reduction of resource use. The food and beverage sector uses over 34.000 tons of biomass every year and generates over 2.000 trucks of waste. By valorising the city’s waste streams additional revenue streams are added to Glasgow’s economy and CO2 emissions are reduced. A practical example of this is the use of bread waste, a staggering 200.000 slices of bread are wasted daily in Glasgow, to create green gas, compost or even beer. Applying circular strategies in the city’s food and beverage sectors creates income, jobs and ultimately reduces carbon emissions.

“Glasgow shows leadership and vision by exploring the opportunities of the circular economy. The city’s desire to transform results from the Circle City Scan into tangible and practical pilot projects highlights their frontrunner status and serves as an example for cities around the world.”

– Andy Ridley, CEO of Circle Economy

To ensure that the strategies identified in the Circle City Scan are implemented, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce is now reaching out to businesses throughout the region to illustrate the business opportunities that these ‘circular initiatives’ provide. The next step is setting achievable goals and creating local partnerships to implement the four most promising pilot projects identified.

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Circle Cities Program

The Circle Cities Program addresses where and how circular strategies can be implemented within cities. It illustrates practical and scalable circular opportunities that create jobs, increase resource efficiency and stimulates economic growth. To learn more about our Circle Cities Program please click here.

If you are interested in learning more about our work with the City of Glasgow or our Circle Cities program please contact our Director of Programs and Business Development, Annerieke Douma ( or our Project Manager for the Circle Cities Programme (

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