Around 46% of global solid waste comprises organic waste. Organic waste is a rich source of fats, proteins, polysaccharides, and minerals that are valuable raw materials for the bioplastic industry.
VEnvirotech focuses on 3 key categories of waste for bioplastic production. These are:
The agri-food industry activities are centered around producing food-based raw materials. These include harvesting or sourcing harvested resources from farms. Examples of products from this industry include sugar, milk, and animal feed. These serve as raw materials to food processing companies.
More people across the world are living in urban areas and 68% of the world is expected to be living in urban areas by 2050. This has led to increased distances between conventional food producers and food consumers. Consequently increased demand for processed food.
Food processing ensures that food is well preserved and reaches consumers in good condition. However, the processing of food also results in the generation of organic waste. The food industry generates an estimated 1.6 billion tonnes of primary products equivalent to food as waste.
Globally meat consumption is estimated at 360 million tonnes annually as of 2018. A combination of population growth and increased meat consumption has led to a 58% rise in meat consumption within the past 2 decades.
For every goat or sheep slaughtered around 2.5 kg of waste is generated. Waste generated from slaughterhouses includes manure, rumen, intestinal contents, blood and liver, hair, bones, feathers, fats, and wastewater. These are all organic matter containing a significant amount of energy and materials.
Table 1. Some example products from the key waste sources
||Materials from waste
|Food processing||Beer bagasse||Cellulose fiber/ biopolymer||· VEOfiber Inject – EcoBeer Bagasse|
|Agric- food||Oyster shell||Calcium carbonate/ biopolymer||· VEOfiber inject – EcoOystershell|
|Food processing||Potato peel||Cellulose fiber/starch biopolymer||· VEOfiber inject – EcoPotatoPeel|
|Agric-food||Paper packaging||Cellulose fiber||· VEOfiber inject – EcoPaperCellulose|
|Food processing||Egg shells||Calcium carbonate minerals||· VEOfiber Inject – Ecoeggshell|
One of the ways to make waste management more sustainable and efficient is to process the waste at source. Processing of waste right at the source serves 3 purposes. These are discussed as follows.
Solid waste is left to decompose in landfills or openly result in the generation of methane which has 25 times more heating effect than carbon dioxide. It was estimated in 2016 that 5% of greenhouse gas emission was from greenhouse gas released mainly from the degradation of solid waste.
Processing the waste at the source reduces the amount of degradation that occurs during the packing and transportation of the waste. Hence reducing the number of emissions. The amount of emissions is also reduced when the transportation of waste to a different location for processing is eliminated.
Organic waste begin to degrade from the minute they are generated. This affects the quality and quantity of products that can be extracted. To retain optimal quality, the waste must be processed as quickly as possible.
For example, a lot of beer bagasse gets used as animal feed because they have to be disposed of within 7 to 10 days. However, higher-value products can be obtained from beer bagasse if the quality is retained by processing at the source.
Processing organic waste results in a reduced volume of the unwanted portions of the waste. This could be a result of microbes metabolizing part of the organic waste or processes such as fiber and mineral extraction. Such that the only part that is transported is the useful part. This is either to the next processor or user or to a factory for further processing.
Sustainable industries require multidisciplinary collaborations and partnership across various industries. Some of the partnerships which are involved in conversion of key organic wastes into bioplastic products are discussed below.
Providing upcycling services allows companies to focus on their primary goals and bring on a partner to handle the upcycling of waste. Industries are more sustainably managed when partnerships allow each player to focus on their specialty and goals.
VEnvirotech partners with various industries within the 3 key industry sectors to upcycle their waste into useful products or raw materials.
For companies who seek to incorporate revalued organic waste into their products. Consultation with companies specialized in waste revaluation ensures that these companies make the right choices that are well-tailored to their goals and capabilities.
VEnvirotech has a team of experts who have worked to develop processes for the revaluation of 85 different organic waste types. Contact us today to get consultations with our experts.
Dedicated services to link waste producers with waste processors can significantly reduce the environmental and economic impact of organic waste and allows optimal value extraction.
Besides the 3 key industry categories that serve as organic waste sources for VEnvirotech’s bioplastics formulations, we also partner with bioplastics processors producing a wide range of bioplastic products for the consumer market.
With the diverse range of organic waste obtained, it is important to collect data to develop standard and optimized procedures for processing the wastes. Such data include; the rate of waste generation, the composition of the waste, and optimal processing parameters.
VEnvirotech has developed systems for tracking waste and collecting data to optimize waste processing.
The stages involved in converting organic waste into bioplastics vary with the type of waste. The flow chart below gives a general overview of the different stages for the conversion of organic waste for use in bioplastic formulation.
VEnvirotech has treated over 85 validated organic wastes to create 8 different ranges of bioplastic formulations incorporating fibers and/or minerals from organic wastes.
Prospective clients can select from our existing bioplastic ranges produced from revalued organic waste or reach out for more customized solutions.