|Steering Business Toward Sustainability (UNU, 1995, 191 pages)|
|Part three: Implementation|
|10. Industrial clusters of the twenty-first century|
The brewing of beer creates numerous environmental headaches. The process is far from zero-emissions but could be converted into a perfectly sustainable industry. One of its most polluting activities is the cleansing of the beer-brewing installations. Harsh chemicals are needed to meet strict health standards. As a result, the system needs to be cleaned twice, once with chemicals and again with water to rinse out the chemicals.
If sugar based cleaners are used, the waste water could be fed to fish farms. As we know, eating sugar makes you fat. Why not combine the two, cleaning the system and feeding the fish? In addition, the solid waste from the breweries is rich in protein. This residue has always been used to feed cattle, until the feedlot operations became so massive that the handling of the waste stream became highly polluting. Smaller breweries still have excellent opportunities to provide input to both cattle and fish farmers, a cluster of agro-industry never looked at as being complementary.
The cleansing of returned bottles of beer or milk could be reintegrated along the same lines, securing the elimination of plastic bottles, a major source of municipal solid waste. Whether we talk about milk, juices, beer, or sodas, we actually have a wide variety of product residues which could be removed with natural ingredients. The resulting mixture is excellent for fish farming. The recycling of glass bottles on a local scale becomes most attractive, not just from an environmental point of view, but even more from a food-production perspective.
In a whole continent such as Africa, with breweries as every nation's pride, there is no one considering the possible integration of fish farming, breweries, and sugar industries. At a time when the world's wild fish catch has clearly reached absolute limits, the drive towards fish farming will intensify. The question is how to secure food for the fish. Using waste from the cleansing process is a research program that has started in China in cooperation with scientists from around the world.