Organic Waste as a source of Business Opportunity

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013
Organic Waste as a source of Business Opportunity
Organic Waste as a source of Business Opportunity

The term ‘Organic waste’ is related to every biodegradable waste, with animal or plant origin, produced wherever there is human habitation. The main forms of organic waste are household food waste, agricultural waste, human and animal waste. It composes a major part of the total waste disposed in big cities and can significantly increase costs and problems for food producers, retailers, restaurants, hotels and other businesses, if not effectively managed. Regarding the environmental aspects, the liquid ‘leachate’ produced during decomposition of organic waste can present serious hazard if it reaches a watercourse or water table, as well as the methane gas , which is a powerful greenhouse gas generated during decomposition processes.
Good management of organic waste enables food and beverage businesses to reduce the disposal of organic waste in landfills and environmental impacts caused by this organic matter allocation, in addition to the generation of goods such as manure for agriculture and renewable energy. Therefore, a well planned organic waste framework helps these businesses meet legal, economic, stakeholder and media pressures.
There are several techniques which can be used in order to generate products from organic waste, which can be used or sold in the market. The most known and applied ones are composting and anaerobic digestion, sometimes including co-digestion.
Composting consists in a method of breaking down organic materials in a large area, producing safe and stable compost. This compost serves as a marketable commodity and is a low-cost alternative to standard landfill cover and artificial soil amendments. It also reduces the costs of landfilling due to the reduction of waste volume and provides a less costly alternative to conventional methods of remediating contaminated soil.
Anaerobic Digestion is a process, under the absence of air, by which organic matter is broken down by microbiological activity generating biogas. This biogas can be used as a renewable fuel, source of electricity for heating, among others. Co-Digestion is a process inside the aerobic digestion whereby additional, energy-rich organic waste materials (e.g. fats, oils, grease and/or food scraps) are added to a dairy or wastewater digester in order to increase the biogas production.
The major organic waste generators in Middle East are food/beverage industry, sugar industry, paper manufacturing, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry, fish oil and processing industry. Nowadays, several techniques are available in order to economically profit from organic waste and reduce costs from its disposal. Modern technologies involve generation of energy from sludge, oils, rice, fats, whey, algaes among other organic matter raw materials.
The application of this practice is extremely important for a sustainable waste management and for the development of a green economy in the MENA region. In November, our Monthly Theme will inform you about recent studies and practices concerning “Organic Waste as a source of Business Opportunity”. Specialists from different fields present their approaches, expertise and experiences. We would welcome your contribution with own experiences, good practices or even your suggestions and recommendations to the presented cases.


We hope you enjoy reading,

Your SWEEP-Net Team



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