Sustainable is Attainable
Biowastes, plastics and personal protective equipment (PPE) will be the focus of waste reduction and repurposing by Timaru’s food and beverage processors following the Sustainable is Attainable next steps collaboration event on 6 August in Timaru.
Three University of Canterbury students, funded by Callaghan Innovation and hosted by DB Breweries and Barker’s of Geraldine, spent the summer collating and researching the waste streams, including biowastes, plastics, and PPE from the participating companies.
At the Sustainable is Attainable next steps event participating companies and researchers, along with local and national stakeholders representing the entire value chain from farmers and growers, operators, processors, exporters, as well as potential funders, met to hear about the student research. They identified opportunities and discussed how they can support the local food and beverage processing sector to collaborate and implement waste solutions. The repurposing and reusing of waste materials produced in the region could be a significant step in the right direction to extend the life of the landfill and to gain more value from these waste streams, while moving South Canterbury towards a circular economy.
Some of the opportunities for collaboration identified in this project involve similar waste streams, while other opportunities create value by combining complementary waste streams including generating fuel from biowaste, extracting functional ingredients for food, nutraceuticals and cosmetics, and high-value soil conditioners.
The next step is to prioritise these opportunities and establish their feasibility, both from a scientific and commercial perspective, and create a plan of short-term and long-term projects and improvements.
The Timaru District and the wider South Canterbury area has a rich, productive primary sector with food processing and manufacturing being the largest industry sector in South Canterbury, annually accounting for nearly $2.5bn of exports, and employing 5,000 people.