Background

World Food Waste Network

EU FSCW is 3.5Mt per year. We also face a resource crisis. Replacing the term waste with resource opens up new avenues for the bio-economy.

Food supply chain waste (FSCW) in the European Union is estimated to be in excess of 350 million tons per year. It is economically and environmentally expensive to dispose of and at the same time society is facing a potential shortage of resources.

REPLACE THE TERM WASTE WITH RESOURCE

CHRISTINE PARRY, AB AGRI, UK

The solution is to begin thinking of waste as a resource that can be exploited, reducing our dependence on oil. The impacts of this strategy are many fold. Not only does it reduce the amount of landfill and incineration but the products are created using less energy intensive processes than their oil-based counter parts and use fewer chemicals with a known detrimental impact on the environment.

Lucie Pfaltzgraff, who was a doctoral researcher, at the University of York was working with on wheat straw, citrus peels, cashew nut shell liquid, pea pods, coffee grounds and many other types of wet processing wastes via the WasteValor project. This project, defined by its multi-waste sources and interactions between industry and academia, provided the stimuli for a new permanent network to germinate. 

This network, led by Lucie, called the Bio-waste Industrial Symbiosis Network (BIS) was designed to create a critical mass of researchers and industry contacts at the interface of chemistry, biology, biotechnology, food technology and engineering in order to form a pool of experts aiming to develop the use of food supply chain waste for bio-chemicals, bio-materials and bio-fuels.

EUBIS Network

To facilitate a European-wide approach to this, a European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action was funded for four years(2012—2016). This network, European Union Bio-waste Industrial Symbiosis (EUBis), aimed to provide an alternative renewable source of carbon for the production of industrially relevant bio-derived chemicals, fuels and materials via the exploration of novel and advanced routes for food supply chain waste valorisation. The new COST Action on Food waste valorisation for sustainable chemicals, materials & fuels was given the name 'EUBIS' to reflect the European focus of the funding while still preserving the more international ethics of the original BIS network.

The original MoU was signed by representatives of 21 COST member countries. The network expanded to include international partners such as Brazil, Hong Kong and Argentina, along with industrial partners to help target the research, ensuring swift uptake into commercial environments.

The plan was to achieve this through: developing sustainable valorisation chains for food waste; encouraging the formation of a multidisciplinary scientific community- scientific exchange and expertise transfer; strengthening links between academia and industry; mapping FSCW sources; scoping technologies for selective extraction and processing of FSCW and; providing information in an easy to understand format that is easy to engage with for end users including the public.

Together a critical mass of almost 300 interdisciplinary researchers from academia and industry would work to bridge barriers in technology and academic disciplines and go beyond first generation recycling, while supporting the learning and development of Early Stage Researchers.

2012 2013 2017
Network BIS EUBIS WFWN
Funding University of York COST COST

Funding of the network to date.

This Action and the network of researcher formed under it; produced in excess of 30 peer-reviewed publications, 13 workshops, 2 training schools and an delivered an international conference. Owing to the obvious success of the Action, the members voted to continue the network and in 2017 The World Food Waste Network was born. 

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Projects on Food Waste and the Bio-based Economy

Relevant Publications