Tag Archives: waste

Finding value in liquid waste streams

Waste is increasingly viewed as a resource. From well-established practices such as recycling paper and aluminium, to the development of the circular economy, an increasing volume of resources are now being recovered from materials that were previously seen only as inconvenient wastes.

Waste valorisation is the process of recovering value from waste materials, for example through reusing or recycling them, or by composting or anaerobically digesting them and converting them into more useful products such as materials, chemicals, fuels or other sources of energy. In a circular economy, compared to a linear one, the materials within products are reused, turning previously burdensome wastes into valuable resources. Moving to a circular economy can have a positive effect on economic growth and strengthen the competitiveness of companies, in addition to providing a number of environmental benefits.

The European Union has proposed to double its rate of resource productivity by 2030 and as part of this, adopted a communication, Towards a circular economy: a zero waste programme for Europe, in July 2014.

Unleashing the potential for liquid waste streams
Wastewater treatment and ‘water mining’ has been identified as a key platform on which to base the technological development of such circular production systems. In addition, every cubic metre of recycled or reused water results in a corresponding reduction in mains water demand and wastewater discharge. There are also benefits in terms of energy and carbon footprint, and waste streams are increasingly being viewed as a resource for the development of bio-based products and processes.

Examples of resource recovery
While we are still a significant way away from the commercial development of large scale biorefineries, parts of this process are already established. The use of anaerobic digestion is now widespread, and there are various examples of material recovery from different waste streams in operation at various scales around the world.

Some examples include:

  • Recovery of phosphorous from sewage for use as agricultural fertilisers.
  • The potential recovery of biopolymers from the wastewater from olive mills.
  • Treating cheese whey wastewater to produce products for food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals.
  • The recovery of spent yeast products for use in food production.

Fruit processing is another sector that is ideally placed to capitalise on the potential value of some of its waste products. Citrus peel waste accounts for up to half the total volume of citrus fruit processed globally and is a potential source of many useful products including dietary fibre, antioxidants, food colorants and flavours, and contains a wide variety of compounds.

Moving towards zero liquid discharge
Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) is a technique by which liquid waste streams are eliminated: any wastewater is purified and recycled, while other residues, which often include the type of valuable by-products mentioned above, are extracted.

Various processes are employed in ZLD, but evaporation is a key process, both in order to concentrate residues sufficiently to allow their economic extraction or physical removal, and as part of the water purification process. However, solid-liquid mixtures are complex and it is important that the first stage of any potential project includes a research study to evaluate the nature of the waste stream/s and the saturation levels required.

HRS Heat Exchangers have been involved in ZLD projects in Europe using evaporation systems, including the recovery of potassium and sodium sulphates from organic brine waste streams.

For more information on how HRS Zero liquid discharge systems can be used to recover valuable resources from your waste stream, please contact us today.

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Oliver Kay expands sustainable packaging range

Cheshire-based wholesale greengrocer Oliver Kay Produce has announced that it is working with local company Re-Source to reduce food waste and is also working hard to reduce plastic food packaging.

The company claims it is the first wholesale greengrocer to swap from overwrapped polystyrene trays to compostable ‘Bagass Trays’ made from sugarcane pulp and supplied by Thompson Packaging. All plastic wrap now comes from 100 per cent recycled sources and is looking for a suitable compostable-substitute.

“We looked at moving to biodegradable packaging, but realised that to really make a difference, all of the packaging needed to be compostable,” explained Paul Leyland, Oliver Kay’s Commercial & Sustainability Director. Other sustainability improvements include replacing the plastic netting traditionally used for items such as citrus to one made from certified beech wood fibre.

Oliver Kay delivers to approximately 3,500 catering establishments six days a week. “A business of this type and size obviously generates an amount of waste in the form of packaging and food waste,” added Paul. “We are buying roughly 800 nets of lemons each day, 320 trays of chillies each day, and through our strict quality standards and prep department we are producing approximately 2.5 tonnes of food waste each day.”

Working with Re-Source the business has introduced a screw press system to remove water from left over fruit and vegetable waste, reducing the total density of the waste by 90 per cent. This is then composted, and taken back for use by the farmers who supply the business.

Director Paul Leyland

Credit for images: Oliver Kay Produce

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Reduce digestate volumes with HRS

At UK AD & World Biogas Expo 2018 stand D603, HRS Heat Exchangers will showcase its novel Digestate Concentration System (DCS), which increases the dry solid content of digestate three-or four-fold, typically to between 10-20 per cent.

By reducing the liquid fraction and therefore the overall volume of digestate produced, the DCS minimises the economic and logistical challenges associated with digestate storage, transportation and application. Up to 60 per cent less storage capacity is needed and fewer tanker loads are required, helping to curb an AD plant’s transportation costs and carbon footprint. And with an average 1.5 MW AD plant generating 40,000 tonnes of liquid digestate each year, that can mean significant carbon and financial savings.

By reusing heat from existing sources, such as the CHP engine, the DCS is virtually energy self-sufficient. Water removed by the process is recovered and can be mixed with AD feedstock at the front-end of the plant, increasing the efficiency of the digester. The DCS also overcomes odour issues and increases the nutrient content of digestate via acid-dosing with sulphuric acid – while the volume of digestate is reduced, the nutrient content actually increases.

The HRS DCS is a plug-and-play, fully automated system which is completely flexible and can be tailored to meet the requirements of individual AD plants. The technology is installed at a number of facilities worldwide and is helping operators to reduce their storage, transport and application costs, as well as their water usage, while using spare heat which would otherwise be wasted.

International Sales & Marketing Director Matt Hale explains why increasing numbers of AD operators are specifying the Digestate Concentration System for their sites: “At a time when the efficiency of AD plants and bio-waste management is under scrutiny around the world, being able to maximise the financial and nutrient value of your digestate, while at the same time reducing storage, transport and application costs, is an exciting proposition. The HRS DCS represents the most efficient method of achieving these goals.”

Learn more about how the HRS Digestate Concentration System (DCS) can solve your digestate challenges and improve your overall plant efficiency on Stand D603 at the UK AD & World Biogas Expo, NEC Birmingham, in July.

The post Reduce digestate volumes with HRS appeared first on HRS Heat Exchangers on 6 June 2018.

Tesco to scrap Best Before dates

Tesco is to remove ‘Best Before’ dates from almost 70 fresh produce lines as it says they are confusing for customers and lead to perfectly good food being thrown away.

‘Best Before’ dates indicate when a product is at its best and are often used for stock rotation purposes. Beyond this date produce may deteriorate. In contrast ‘Use By’ dates are sued on chilled products to indicate when food may be unsafe to consume.

Tesco head of food waste Mark Little said, “We know some customers may be confused by the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded. We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods. Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the ‘Best Before’ date code on the packaging.”

Photo Caption: Tesco is to remove Best Before dates from around 70 fresh produce lines.

Photo Credit: Tesco

The post Tesco to scrap Best Before dates appeared first on Hort News on 23 May 2018.

Unique heat exchanger increases resource efficiency by cutting process waste

With resource efficiency topping the agenda at this year’s Anuga FoodTec show, HRS Heat Exchangers is shining a light on a forgotten area of wastage in food processing – food lost during cleaning cycles and production changes. The HRS R Series of scraped surface heat exchangers removes food residue, meaning that food factories can now recover valuable product from the exchanger when heating, cooling or pasteurising viscous/sticky foods.

HRS International Sales & Marketing Director Matt Hale explains: “Normally, when processing viscous food products such as honey, syrups and purées, a certain amount will adhere to surfaces, such as the inside of pipe work, or become left in equipment after processing. The value of these lost products soon adds up. For example, this issue is estimated to account for 3% of product losses in the US dairy industry1.”

Globally some 5% of food loses occur during processing, although this varies according to region. In European countries the average figure is around 5% but this rises to 9% in North America2. To put this into context, that’s 4.1 million tonnes of food being lost during processing each year in the UK alone3. The sectors with the highest waste levels are dairy, animal and meat processing, fruit and vegetable processing and the manufacture of oils and fats4.

Traditionally flushing or so-called ‘pigging systems’ have been used to push product through key parts of the production system, like heat exchangers. However, both add complexity to the system and can result in high levels of product wastage. However, running a suitable scraped-surface heat exchanger, such as the HRS R Series, in reverse, enables the recovery of material without the need for such additional equipment.

The HRS R Series scraped surface heat exchanger is capable of removing much of the product before the cleaning or change-over cycle commences. This is made possible thanks to a scraper bar within each inner tube which enhances product flow; prevents fouling during operation and minimises the pressure drop. The scraper bar features a helical screw which rotates at high speed. When configured correctly, this screw can be run in reverse, removing product from the heat exchanger tubes without damaging it or changing its characteristics. The R-Series can be configured for both horizontal and vertical operation, so that gravity can also be used to help recover product from the tubes. Each unit can be supplied with one, three or six tubes and multiple units can be combined for larger installations.

“The R Series is particularly suitable for high value viscous products such as honey, treacle, custards and creams, where lost product can be expensive,” adds Matt. “The R Series can be emptied of the majority of the product without the need for any additional pumps or pressure systems, reducing both capital- and running-costs.”

Learn about the benefits of the HRS R Series on Stand D069 in Hall 10.2.

Originally posted at PandCT.com on 5 February 2018.

Nearly half of all fresh potatoes thrown away

UK waste advisory body WRAP has launched a new campaign, Save Our Spuds, to increase awareness of the level of waste associated with the vegetable. According to the organisation 5.8 million tubers are thrown away each and every day in British homes.

The waste accounts to around 730,000 tonnes a year, almost half (46 per cent) of the 1.7 million tonnes purchased every year, costing £230 million. Through its Love Food Hate Waste website, WRAP is sharing storage tips and recipes with the public which it hopes will reduce this figure.

Two years ago Swiss researchers also revealed that just over half of all fresh potatoes are were wasted in their country. Christian Willersinn, lead author of the Swiss work, blamed consumers’ high quality standards, as well as production loses.

Sainsbury’s have introduced opaque packaging on some of its potato lines to reduce greening in store. Jane Skelton, Sainsbury’s head of packaging, commented, “Last year we introduced new opaque packaging which is breathable, but prevents any light from reaching the potatoes, the most common culprit for greening.”

food

Photo Caption: WRAP has launched a new campaign to reduce potato waste.

Photo Credit: WRAP / Love Food, Hate Waste

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MPs attack ‘perfect veg’ in food waste report

A group of MPs has urged supermarkets to relax visual specifications for fresh produce as part of efforts to reduce food waste.

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee of the House of Commons also called on the Government to establish a national food waste reduction target to drive efforts to reduce the food waste costing the average person in the UK £200 per year and suggested supermarkets should publicly report data on the amount of food they throw away.

Other issues the committee raised included the need to raise public awareness of food waste, which is estimated to cost the average family between £470 and £700 a year, and a need to continue funding for WRAP.

The report also recommended that, ‘The incoming Government should continue the current review with WRAP and the Food Standards Agency on food date labelling, with a view to issuing guidance to industry by the end of the year. The review should specifically look at whether there is a need for ‘best before’ dates at all.’

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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Consumers will buy wonky fruit & veg if cheap enough

According to the results of a new survey by retail marketing specialist Blue Yonder, consumers are more willing to buy misshapen and so-called ‘wonky’ fruits and vegetables, but they expect a price discount.

The research, which was carried out amongst 2,000 shoppers in the UK, USA, France and Germany, found that 73 per cent  would consider buying fresh produce which had natural flaws, but 90 per cent said that they expected retailers to charge less for them than they would for regular fruit.

Of the four countries surveyed, France was the most accepting of misshapen produce with 93 per cent of those questioned saying they would buy it if there was a discount. However, less than half of Brits said they would buy wonky veg, with or without a price discount.

Matt Hopkins, retail industry director for Blue Yonder, said: “Discounting imperfect produce helps overcome the waste problem in the supply chain. However, for it to have a real impact on waste reduction, retailers need to understand what demand will be for products – wonky or not – to accurately stock the right amount of ‘imperfect’ versus ‘perfect’ fruit and vegetables.

“It would be pointless to reduce waste in the supply chain, only to see retailers having to throw it away from supermarket and distribution centre shelves.

“The findings also indicate that accurate markdown pricing is needed to successfully sell imperfect fruit and vegetables. Pricing ‘imperfect fruit and veg’ versus ‘perfect fruit and veg’ will add to the complexity and number of decisions in a world where grocery is already struggling to keep pace. The use of advanced machine learning algorithms for the best decisions, delivered daily, is important for survival and success.”

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Tesco introduces apples to yoghurt in latest waste effort

Tesco has partnered with leading organic dairy, Yeo Valley, and Adam Wakeley, the UK’s largest organic fruit grower to create an exclusive new Apple and Custard Left-Yeovers yogurt which helps to tackle food waste. The yogurt uses visually imperfect, but great tasting apples, to create the seasonal flavour.

The Left-Yeovers range, which has been championed by Tesco in recent months, helps to prevent food waste by using surplus fruit from the Yeo Valley storerooms, and also raises money for a very important cause, with 10p from every pot sold donated to food redistribution charity, FareShare. Previous Left-Yeovers flavours have included Strawberry & Fig, Plum & Custard and Banoffee, and have raised £20,000 for FareShare so far.

Adrian Carne Joint Managing Director of Yeo Valley commented, “Our Apples and Custard yogurt is made with organic Santana fruit grown in Gloucester. The juicy apples are blended with a creamy custard yogurt made in our Somerset dairy.”

Photo Credit: Tesco

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Tesco to sell wonky fruit as well as veg

According to reports, Tesco is to widen its specifications for certain fruit lines after successfully trialling ‘wonky veg’ in its potato and parsnip lines.

The retailer said that it had worked with its suppliers to extend its retail specifications so that it could sell Class II apples and strawberries to its customers at value prices. It added this meant that it would sell 95 per cent of its supplier’s strawberries and 97 per cent of their British apples.

Matt Simister, commercial director for fresh food and commodities at Tesco, told the Fresh Produce Journal, “The work doesn’t stop here though. We have experienced high levels of waste in-store on the parsnips in particular, and therefore need to continually develop our specifications so that we minimise the food that is wasted in any part of the chain.

“We’ve already facilitated the up-take of 35 tonnes per week from our potato partner Branston into our ready meals partner Samworth Brothers, and we’re hopeful that the establishing of a juicing relationship with Scripps, our key grower of British apples, will utilise the remaining two per cent of the edible crop.”

Photo Caption: Tesco says it will now sell 97 per cent of the British apples grown for it.

Photo Credit: Tesco

The post Tesco to sell wonky fruit as well as veg appeared first on Hort News on 15 April.