FIAL releases roadmap to halve food waste by 2030

Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) has released its Roadmap for Reducing Australia’s Food Waste by Half by 2030, as required under the 2017 National Food Waste Strategy.

Each year, over seven million tonnes of food is wasted in Australia, costing the economy an estimated $20 billion, according to the roadmap.

The National Food Waste Strategy seeks to half this tonnage by 2030, with FIAL engaged by the Federal Government to work with stakeholders across the food value chain to identify appropriate actions.

According to FIAL Chair Michele Allan, the roadmap provides a clear path forward, documenting the steps and initiatives required to tackle Australia’s food waste.

“While work is already underway in many sectors, there are opportunities to improve coordination through robust governance, reporting against a balanced scorecard and better understanding the overall feasibility of achieving a 50 per cent reduction by 2030,” Dr Allan said.

Strategies include a Voluntary Commitment Program, which the roadmap highlights as a “powerful vehicle for reducing food waste across the supply chain.”

“An effective Voluntary Commitment Program that has been implemented internationally has been found to reduce food waste by up to 28 per cent. FIAL is currently developing a Voluntary Commitment Program for Australia,” Dr Allan said.

The program will look at ways to find innovative uses for waste and surplus food, embed new criteria into design, buying and sourcing and change commercial supply practices.

Further actions include scaling-up food rescue and relief, launching an ongoing national behaviour change program and mainstreaming Fight Food Waste CRC research findings.

Additionally, a number of targeted sector action plans have been drafted, with more scheduled in 2020.

“These plans take a ‘whole-of-sector’ systems perspective to identify opportunities and target interventions that maximise food recovery, reduce waste and create multiple benefits,” Dr Allan said.

“Everyone has a role to play in reducing food waste and now is the time to take action. We hope you will join us on the path to halving food waste by 2030.”

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Atritor Turbo Separator: Wastech Engineering

The Atritor Turbo Separator was developed to separate products from their packaging, releasing them for recycling or disposal.

Available through Australian distributor Wastech Engineering, the Turbo Separator enables up to 99 per cent of dry or liquid products to be separated from their packaging with minimal contamination. This allows the contents to be used for compost, anaerobic digestion or animal feedstock.

The Turbo Separator can be manufactured in a range of throughputs up to 20 tonnes per hour.

Additionally, the process is so efficient that it leaves packaging relatively intact and clean to facilitate downstream recycling. According to Wastech, when compared to other methods of packaging separation, the Turbo Separator achieves higher separation efficiencies with lower power consumption, resulting in reduced operating costs.

The Turbo Separator is ideal for separating out of specification, out-of-date and mislabelled products from a variety of packaging, including cans, plastic bottles and boxes. The diverse range of applications includes the separation of paper from gypsum in plasterboard, general foodstuffs from their packaging and liquids from their containers.

It is available complete with in-feed and out-feed conveyors and liquid transfer pumps. The Turbo Separator, with its durable construction and adjustable paddles, enables the separation of a wide variety of products.

Each Turbo Separator installation can be configured to suit multiple applications and a variable shaft speed enables enhanced separation efficiency. The machine is available in mild steel and stainless steel to suit the application.

De-packing for anaerobic domination: ELB and Peats Soil

As the food waste issue escalates, Peats Soil is transforming South Australia’s organic waste into high-grade renewable energy, with help from ELB Equipment.

Australia’s annual food waste bill hit $10 billion in 2019, up from $8.9 billion the previous year. Despite ‘fault’ often being directed at primary production and manufacturing, consumers were the biggest food waste offenders, generating 34 per cent of the nation’s food waste in 2019.

While the key to fighting food waste, and waste generally, is reduction, advancements in the waste-to-energy sector are highlighting renewable energy opportunities.

South Australia’s Waste Strategy 2015-2020, for example, highlights anaerobic digestion as a cost-effective solution in areas without the feedstock levels required to sustain large-scale waste-to-energy operations.

To that end, recyclers across the state are working to transform organic waste into energy and fertiliser, fostering a sustainable biofuel future.

Peats Soil is one of those operators, which in addition to processing much of metropolitan Adelaide’s garden organics via council kerbside, collects food organics from hotels, supermarkets, schools, offices and manufacturers.

Peats Soil opened its fourth compost and renewable energy site in May 2019.  Peter Wadewitz, Peats Group Managing Director, says Peats Soil is committed to realising the environmental impacts of soil improvement, biofuel and regeneration.

“Redirecting organic recyclable materials from homes and businesses away from landfill means methane gas is transformed into captured biogas for renewable energy production, without affecting the production of valuable soil improvement products,” he says.

To assist its operations, Peats Group maintains a long-term equipment supply relationship with ELB Equipment. The 10-plus-year relationship, Peter says, began after ELB took over Komptech’s Australian operations in 2009.

“We’d been working with Komptech for years, and always relied on them to supply high-quality equipment. When ELB took over, that reliability and quality continued, so we stuck with them. It’s a good relationship with quality backup and support,” he says.

Additionally, Peter adds that he continues to work with ELB due to the innovative choices they bring to market.

Introduced to the Australian market by ELB in 2018, the Dominator Depackaging Machine is one such innovation.

According to Simon Humphris, ELB Product Manager, the Dominator Depackaging Machine is designed to separate food and liquid from outer packaging, allowing the reuse of waste that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

The Dominator was developed in 1992 after a bag of animal feed accidently fell into a pellet press conditioner. The empty bag was reclaimed, but the product had been removed. The incident gave Rowan, a family-run biomass engineering company, an idea.

“Countless trials and adjustments later, the machine is capable of depackaging food waste, plastic bottles, tetra pak, tin cans, plasterboard, sachets and pharmaceutical and bakery waste,” Simon explains.

Separated packaging can be sent for recycling, he says, further reducing waste and potentially generating additional revenue streams.

“Expired or reject food with faulty packaging can be processed and used for anaerobic digestion, with the output also added to animal feed and used as a wet additive in compost facilities,” Simon says.

When Peter acquired a Dominator 3000 from ELB in early 2019, anaerobic digestion was a critical decision driver.

“We use the machine to grind and screen anything that’s housed in food packaging, from yogurt containers to apple cider bottles,” he says.

“The output then goes into our anaerobic digestor to generate energy, with the remaining sludge added to compost.”

To start the process, waste is loaded into an intake hopper where it begins conditioning. The Dominator then uses a motor to drive a solid steel shaft lined with paddles. Using mechanical and centrifugal forces, material is depackaged and forced through a mesh screen, leaving two separated waste streams for further processing.

Next, the material is augured and pumped into a holding tank, before it’s transformed into renewable energy.

The Dominator is available in two different models, Simon says, with an arrangement of different sizes depending on throughput and space requirements.

Peter’s model, the Dominator 3000, is available with up to 78 paddles, while the Dominator 3500 is available with up to 96 for heavy duty operations.

“Both models have a potential throughput of up to 255 cubic metres an hour and are available in mild or stainless steel, with motors ranging from 15 to 75 kilowatts,” Simon adds.

Portability is an added benefit of the depackager, Peter says, with the ability to move the machine seamlessly between four sites a crucial component of Peats Soils’ anaerobic process.

“There are other machines that do the job, but like with any purchase, you get to a point where while they’re all efficient, one is just a little bit better,”  Peter says.

“The Dominator stands out as one of the best depackaging machines on the market.”

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The Dominator Depackaging Machine: ELB Equipment

The Dominator Depackaging Machine is designed to separate food and liquid from outer packaging, and allows the reuse of waste material that would otherwise be sent to landfill at high cost. Developed after a bag of food accidentally fell into a pellet press conditioner, the machine can handle food waste, plastic bottles, tetra pak, tin cans, plasterboard, sachets and pharmaceutical and bakery waste.

Expired or rejected food and faulty packaging can all be processed by the machine and used for anaerobic digestion, added to animal feed or in compost facilities as a wet additive. The machine can also depackage municipal waste for later waste-to-energy application. Municipal waste is loaded into an intake hopper where it begins the conditioning process. The waste is then augured to the Dominator and pumped into a holding tank, before being used to generate renewable energy.

The Dominator uses a motor to drive a solid steel shaft lined with paddles. Using mechanical and centrifugal forces, material is depackaged and forced through a mesh screen leaving two separated waste streams for further processing.

The Dominator is available in two different models, with an arrangement of different sizes depending on throughput and space requirements. Both models have a potential throughput of up to 25 cubic metres an hour. The machine is available in mild or stainless steel, with motors ranging from 15 to 75 kilowatts. Different screen sizes can be achieved depending on finished product requirements. Effluent injection points can also be added to the barrel to assist with wet waste. The Dominator is an effective, easy-to-use solution for separating packaging.

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SUEZ and Yume announce strategic partnership

A new partnership with Yume will see SUEZ leverage its customer network to tackle commercial food waste, as more than 4.1 million tonnes of surplus food is sent to landfill each year.

SUEZ Australia and New Zealand CEO Mark Venhoek said by partnering with Yume, SUEZ continues to focus on building its existing local infrastructure and driving innovation and collaboration across industry.

“We need to start taking responsibility for all the waste we produce, and we can achieve this by joining forces to speed up the development of more advanced approaches to recycling in Australia,” Mr Venhoek said.

“This partnership will leverage off our national presence and extensive network of customers to connect food suppliers with food buyers – achieving better outcomes for quality surplus products that’s at risk of going to waste, in order to create sustainable value for our customers.”

According to a joint statement, 55 per cent of total food waste generated comes from the primary production, manufacturing and wholesale sectors.

“At the heart of this strategic partnership is a shared commitment to prevent quality food from going to waste,” the statement reads.

Mr Venhoek said partnering with Yume aligns with SUEZ’s commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by promoting responsible production and consumption.

“Yume has already sold over 1,350,000 kilograms of quality surplus food, returning nearly $5 million to Australian farmers and manufacturers,” he said.

“This is an incredible achievement and testament to Katy Barfield’s passion and commitment to the industry.”

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Food waste diversion grants available

The NSW Environment Department is offering grants worth $100,000 to help food rescue organisations collect donated food and divert the material from landfill.

Environment Department Acting Director Waste and Resource Recovery Amanda Kane said Food Donation Grants are open to not-for-profit organisations and local councils, and designed to provide food relief agencies with extra resources to sign up more donors, work collaboratively and collect more surplus food for redistribution.

“Donating food is a great way to avoid food waste. Every year in NSW, almost a million tonnes of food waste ends up in landfill – 200,000 tonnes of this comes from businesses,” Ms Kane said.

“This funding will support projects that redirect surplus foods to places where it can be put to use, preventing it ever becoming waste at all.”

According to Ms Kane, the grants complement infrastructure funding provided by the NSW Government to food relief agencies for equipment such as fridges, freezers and refrigerated vans.

“Two rounds of the Food Donation Grants have already been successfully completed, with $1.7 million directed to support 21 food rescue projects,” Ms Kane said.

Grants between $5000 to $100,000 are available, with funding from the NSW Government’s $802 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

Applications close on 21 November 2018.

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University of Adelaide hosts $11M food waste program

Waste from Australian agriculture will be turned into high value products such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals following a partnership between researchers and industry.

Developed over the past year and officially launched in South Australia, the $11 million Research Consortium Program for Agricultural Product Development will be hosted at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus.

The program brings together 18 partners to develop high-value products from agricultural waste, including nine South Australian-based companies from the agriculture and food sector, and a further nine national and international academic institutions and industry partners.

Research Consortium Lead Investigator Vincent Bulone said up to 40 per cent of South Australia’s primary production harvest could end up as waste, left to rot in the field or turned into low value products such as compost or animal feed.

“But all of this food waste contains compounds that have high-value potential applications,” Prof Bulone said.

“Some can act as prebiotics or anti-oxidants; some have anti-inflammatory or anti-microbial properties; others, in particular carbohydrates, provide mechanical strength and texturising properties in food, lubricants, cosmetics and structural materials.”

Prof Bulone said the program plans to increase the value of agricultural waste and create new post-farmgate industries worth over $100 million a year to South Australia.

Research partners include the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, CSIRO and Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology.

The consortium received a $4 million South Australian Government grant through the Research Consortia Program.

“Our research will cover the entire value chain from our local growers to manufacturers of food products and beverages, skincare products, and green materials,” Prof Bulone said.

“The focus on applied product development and its web of local, national and international partners will create spin-off companies and jobs to commercialise new, high-value products from existing waste streams.”

Projects underway include:

Isolating and identifying anthocyanins from apples and berries for use in skincare formulations and other health-promoting products

Testing cellulose molecules from waste brussels sprout stalks and other biomass as replacements for glass fibres in filtration systems and plastic materials.

Extracting vitamin D, beta-glucans and chitosan from mushroom waste for use in nutraceuticals and sunscreen materials.

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Larvae to produce compost

Canberra-based start-up Goterra and CSIRO researchers are testing conditions to encourage fly mating, with the intention of producing larvae that eats through food waste.

CSIRO’s farming experts are working with lighting, temperature, moisture, surface texture and diet combinations to boost egg-laying.

Goterra aims to use the insects to create compost, which will reduce food sent landfill, enrich soil with nutrient-rich fertiliser and reduce transport emissions.

Goterra CEO Olympia Yarger said working with CSIRO meant her business could develop in multiple directions.

“We were inspired to start the business out of passion for insects and a belief in harnessing them to work for us, whether that’s as a source of food with edible insects, or to process food waste using larvae,” Ms Yarger said.

“We’re building the technology to breed the insects and transport them to wherever there is a need, creating a mobile and versatile alternative to everything from sources of protein to landfill.”

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International specialist to help fight food waste

The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has partnered with Woolworths and Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) to bring international sustainable food systems specialist Mark Barthel to Australia.

Mark Barthel has 25 years of experience fighting food waste with brands such as Tesco, Amazon, Walmart, Marks & Spencer and Nestle, and international organisations such as WRAP, the World Economic Forum, United Nations and the FAO.

“It is an exciting time to be working with Woolworths, CRC and FIAL to develop a food waste reduction roadmap,” Mr Barthel said.

“Although only three per cent of national food waste is attributed to supermarkets, they still have a critical role to play in engaging with their customers about how they can make the most of the food they buy.”

Mr Barthel said Woolworths was at the forefront in educating customers to minimising food waste via their Food Savers program.

“They have also made commitments themselves, with 100 per cent of their stores now having a food waste diversion program in place,” Mr Barthel said.

“I am excited to be working closely with Woolworths to develop a roadmap that will see them engaging with suppliers, customers and community partners to work together to tackle this issue.”

According to the Australian National Food Waste Baseline report, 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted each year, half of which ends up in landfill.

“Preventing food waste entering landfill in Australia would be the equivalent of taking over 1 million cars off the road in terms of its environmental impact,” Mr Barthel said.

“There is a huge role for businesses to play in reducing food waste along the supply chain, and in addition to working on a roadmap for Woolworths, I’m also going to be working with FIAL to establish a voluntary agreement program with Australian businesses as part of the National Food Waste Strategy.”

FIAL Managing Director Mirjana Prica said the organisation was thrilled to have Mr Barthel working on the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy.

“His experience in setting up the UK’s Cortauld Agreement, and understanding of sustainable food systems, will provide invaluable insights that will help shape Australia’s efforts to reduce food waste,” Ms Prica said.

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Registrations launched for Waste Expo Australia

The future of waste management and resource recovery is high on the agenda at all levels of government as Australia’s largest and most comprehensive conference and exhibition, Waste Expo Australia launches registrations.

Hosting more than 120 brands and over 100 speakers across three conference stages, Waste Expo Australia will return to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 23 and 24.

Waste Expo Australia will offer free-to-attend conference content across the Waste and Wastewater Summits, attracting the largest gathering of waste management and resource professionals in Australia.

The Waste Summit Conference brought to you by Oceania Clean Energy Solutions will cover six targeted streams from resource recovery, waste-to-energy, collections, landfill and transfer stations, construction and demolition waste as well as commercial and industrial waste.

Key speakers will include Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian EPA CEO Cathy Wilkinson and Acting Executive Director for Waste Strategy and Policy at the NSW EPA Kar Mel Tang.

Other national and state-based bodies will be represented, along with case study presentations from local governments including Campaspe Shire Council, City of Holdfast Bay, Yarra City Council and Albury City Council.

Leading off day one of the Waste Summit, a panel will discuss the pressing issues surrounding Australia’s waste-to-energy (WtE) sector.

One of the panel members, Director of Enhar Consulting Demian Natakhan, will discuss the status of landfill solar generation and propose that the final resting place for municipal waste may be the beginning of new energy generation.

“Solar farming on former landfill sites offers a way to put otherwise unproductive land to a valuable use,” Mr Natakhan suggested.

“Where landfill gas is already collected in sufficient quantities to firepower generation, solar can be added onto existing grid infrastructure. In sites with lower landfill gas volumes, new solar generation with grid upgrades can unlock significant solar generation, avoiding the competition between solar farming and productive agricultural or industrial land.”

Confronting the challenges and opportunities in wastewater treatment will also be tackled at the Wastewater Summit brought to you by EnviroConcepts.

Waste Expo Australia Event Director Cory McCarrick said the event continues to grow with more speakers and suppliers on board this year than ever before.

“We have seen an increase in the total number of exhibitors this year to 120 and around 50 of these are exhibiting for the first time at Waste Expo Australia,” Mr McCarrick said.

Key exhibitors this year include Bost Group, Cleanaway, Caterpillar, HSR Southern Cross, Tricon Equipment, Applied Machinery and Hitachi.

“Add to this list our impressive line-up of speakers, there is no other waste event in Australia that gives you access to such thought-provoking content that address the major issues facing the industry coupled with the opportunities to be immersed among the key players and products for free,” Mr McCarrick said.

Waste Expo Australia is co-location with All-Energy Australia, Energy Efficiency Expo and ISSA Cleaning and Hygiene Expo — forming a significant showcase for the waste, recycling, wastewater, renewable energy, energy efficiency and cleaning industries.

Across the two days attendees will have access to industry speakers and suppliers across waste management, wastewater treatment, energy generation, energy efficiency and cleaning and hygiene.

Registration gives you access to all four events on Wednesday 23 and Thursday 24 October 2019.

To register visit www.wasteexpoaustralia.com.au

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