Highvalue components and wholewaste exploitation

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Many waste streams contain small levels of components that command an apparent and attractive market value. For example, phytochemicals from fruit and vegetable trimmings might be exploited for the production of nutraceuticals, cosmetics or even pharmaceuticals. There has been much interest and research dedicated to exploiting such components with a view to adding value to co-product streams (Waldron, 2004; Waldron et al, 2004). However, whilst it is often possible, and even relatively straightforward in a laboratory to develop a process to extract a 'high-value' component, it is frequently uneconomical to do so commercially. This may be because the bulk residues remaining after extraction are of lower value, and may actually cost more in disposal. Therefore, it is important to develop approaches that aim to exploit food co-products in their entirety, ensuring that all components so derived may be of marketable quality. This requires a research and development approach that links all the potential components in the waste stream to the potential markets available. A possible strategy for such an approach is shown in Fig. 1.8 and is based on that which has been proposed in the EU project REPRO (see website). This approach involves exploiting fully traceable, food-grade waste streams. Initially they should be stabilized against microbiological deterioration and autolysis to prevent them from losing their food-grade status. Subsequently they would be disassembled by physical and biochemical approaches (individually and in combination) involving modern enzyme and processing technologies. The aim is to provide a range of components, from high value to low value, all of which would contribute to achieving whole-waste exploitation. The process would require evaluation for acceptability, both in relation to safety (via Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) development), novel food legislation, consumer preference and marketing requirements. Such an approach requires close interaction with all stakeholders to maximize knowledge transfer and exploitation.

Finally, some co-products may be unsuitable for exploitation due, for example, to their complexity, uncontrolled spoilage or lack of trace-ability. In such cases, non-food exploitation as energy sources may be appropriate via fermentation and biogas production, and other microbially based disposal systems such as composting. New technologies may provide opportunities to convert such biomass into biofuels. Hence, it should be possible to reduce landfill considerably, and in the case of plant-based co-products, to avoid it altogether. Of course, the final arbiter will be the cost-effectiveness of this strategy, as measured by perceived return on investment, and this will have to take into account locally/

Whole-co-product exploitation


Stabilization Co-product Energy efficiency Food-grade stabilized . co-products against — " <v ^^ spoilage ^

w ^

ts tc

Cosmetics and nutraceuticals

Food ingredients

I Value-adding 1 disassembly, . I extraction and y 1 processing methods

o CD



Food additives


& CO

Non-food uses

Closed-loop water recycling and purification



/ MINIMIZATION OF RISK: consumer and retaileracceptance, risk assessment "V ^ including hazard analysis of critical control points (HACCP), traceability, life-cycle evaluation/y N^ novel food legislation, etc. /

Fig. 1.8 A roadmap for whole-co-product exploitation.

Fig. 1.8 A roadmap for whole-co-product exploitation.

sector-relevant factors including seasonality, market potential, and transport and storage costs.

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