Waste Fish, Beer and Whisky By-Products Could Be Worth £800m Annually
Research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) has found that the Scottish economy could generate more value from fish, beer and whisky waste by-products. In fact, the report suggests that the value for Scotland from better exploiting these waste streams more effectively is £500-£800 million per year.
The report focused on three of the country’s largest waste generating products. ZWS used a variety of sources to estimate that more than four million tonnes of bio-based waste products are produced by the whisky sector, more than 50,000 tonnes come from the beer sector and the fish sector produces nearly 200,000 tonnes. Most of that waste is currently utilised in heat and power plants, or used for animal feed. However, the ZWS research has identified a number of potential uses that would be more economically advantageous for businesses aiming to take advantage of waste streams and the by-products that they provide.
Three specific opportunities are outlined by ZWS:
- Processing brewery and whisky by-products into high value biofuels, chemicals and higher nutrition fish and animal feeds.
- Extracting refined protein compounds from fish waste for use in human food supplements.
- Utilising proteins from Scottish grown beans in fish food, rather than imported soybeans.
The report, “Circular Economy: Sector Study on Beer, Whisky and Fish” goes into some detailed case study examples highlighting the benefits for a number of innovative businesses in taking advantage of these new opportunities.
This research challenges conventional thinking and embraces the idea of regular innovation. There is a growing acceptance of the advantages of biogas facilities as a destination for bio-based waste, but, as this report reveals, that does not mean that there are not other lucrative opportunities for utilising by-products.