According to the ADEME’s definition, a by-product is something that is created during the process of producing a product, whether or not this is intentional. The by-product is intended for a specific use, different from that of the product from which it is derived. So it is somewhere between an original product and waste.
What are the obstacles that get in the way of your by-products?
There are a number of solutions for reusing your by-products: they include feed, food and energy, as well as insulation, furniture, plastics and biofertilizers… There is some scientific literature on the topic, but actually reusing by-products in practice is a totally different kettle of fish! Indeed, there are all sorts of obstacles that can get in the way. To name but a few:
Regulations: are your leftover products regarded as waste or a by-product that can be reused? If that reuse is in the food industry, is there any food certification across the whole chain (including storage and logistics)?
Logistics: in the agri-food industry, many by-products contain a lot of water. Moving water around is expensive, and potentially makes very little ecological sense. There are however some technologies that make it possible to reduce the amount of water in leftover materials, by using a press for example. But by reducing the water content of certain by-products, there is a risk of creating more effluent, and so disrupting the water treatment process. Sometimes an impact study is needed.
Stabilisation: by-products, such as fruit pomace and dregs, can only be kept for a very limited time. This means that they need to be used quickly, or solutions must be found to stabilise the material so that it can be used later on.
Price: reuse can sometimes be quite expensive, especially in terms of energy consumption. It is therefore important to develop a plan that takes into account the need for water and energy, as well as any supplies required.
Target market: most businesses in Wallonia are SMEs. This means that the critical mass of leftover products cannot always be achieved for them to be reused internally. Furthermore, the development of these new products is generally aimed at new markets, thus demanding additional investments.
2 Wagralim projects involving by-products
All of these challenges present development opportunities for agri-food companies. The issue of reusing by-products is closely monitored by Wagralim in two major projects: the first in Circular Wallonia, via “mesure 59” and the second in the European project, B-Resilient.
The project launched within the framework of Circular Wallonia’s “mesure 59” focuses on making use of 4 streams of by-product (distillers grains, apple pomace, rapeseed meal and wheat bran) and the potential development of a stabilisation and recycling tool shared by these 4 streams.
The B-Resilient project is a European project coordinated by Wagralim, with the support of 7 other European clusters, based in 5 countries. The purpose of this project is to work together on a European level to optimise the use of biomass, including recycling. 5 by-products and their value chain have been identified: stone fruits, distillers grains, fruit pomace, wheat bran and whey.
Recycle your by-products with Wagralim’s help
These regional and European projects will help us make progress in this area, developing concrete projects and helping businesses face up to the challenges of the future.
Do you have a project that you are considering? Would you like to try out a recycling technique? There will be a call for projects on 1 May with financial support worth €7,500, €17,000 and/or €27,000.
Si vous souhaitez plus d’information sur ces projets de valorisation de coproduits, contactez Cécile Fontaine
Le contenu de cet article représente uniquement le point de vue de l'auteur et relève de sa seule responsabilité ; il ne peut être considéré comme reflétant le point de vue de la Commission européenne et/ou du Conseil européen de l'innovation et de l'Agence exécutive pour les PME (EISMEA) ou de tout autre organe de l'Union européenne. La Commission européenne et l'Agence déclinent toute responsabilité quant à l'utilisation qui pourrait être faite des informations qu'il contient.