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Published on: October 9, 2012
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Summary
Food and agribusiness companies are discovering innovative ways to create value from the waste that they produce, shifting the perception of ‘waste as a cost’ to ‘waste as a revenue’, according to a Rabobank report, Don’t Waste a Drop: Maximising the Value of F&A Waste Streams. This change has been enabled by the development of new technologies and the growing scale of F&A company operations.
Details

Justin Sherrard, a renewable energy analyst at Rabobank said: “More than 1 billion tonnes of organic waste is created in the food and agriculture sector each year, with almost 2,000 cubic km’s of water being used to produce this wasted food. While many F&A companies focus on minimising the amount of waste they produce and the associated costs, an increasing number of organisations are finding that waste can be a potential revenue stream, and are developing technologies to maximise this opportunity.”

Sherrard added: “There are now examples in all sectors and in all parts of the supply chain of waste being utilised to access new markets for energy and materials, and generate higher returns in the process. These range from animal feed and fertiliser to fuel for energy generation and the raw materials for bio-based materials such as plastics and chemicals.”

Rabobank’s report finds that:

  • 20 of Nestlé’s 32 factories around the world get at least part of their energy from the 800,000 tonnes of coffee grounds the company produces as part of its processing operations. Nestlé now generates 3.5% of its energy production from this source.
  • Starbucks is looking at the use of enzymes to break down food and coffee waste into materials that can be used to make a range of products including plastic.
  • In Scotland, Rothes Distillers produces heat and power from distillation of waste products that used to be sold as animal feed (when the market was there).