University of Canterbury environmental science professor Brett Robinson in New Zealand is working on a research project that transforms biowaste into high-value products. Waste products from New Zealand’s food processing industry – such as potato scraps and grape skins – could be transformed into high-value soil conditioners and animal feed, according to new research.
University of Canterbury environmental science professor Brett Robinson is spearheading a project that aims to turn biological waste products, which can contaminate waterways and are dumped at great expense into landfills, into new products that could deliver a $1.6 billion boost to New Zealand’s economy.
Transforming this biowaste into high value products, such as soil conditioners and nutritionally balanced animal feeds, would help reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions and bring economic and environmental benefits.
Robinson’s project team plans to develop new microbiological (using bacteria and fungi) treatments that can be used to turn waste products such as grape marc – stalks and skins that are a by-product of wine production – into balanced animal feed that improves animal health and wellbeing.
He says potato waste is an issue, with 30 per cent of potatoes going to waste, when the peel, slivers and rejects have potential to be transformed into useful animal fodder. The seafood, meat and horticulture industries also produce significant waste streams.