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A Basque consortium will develop a method to recycle up to 70% of vegetable, meat and dairy waste

GISWASTE European project aims to establish a methodology and a tool that prioritizes recovery options of organic products: vegetables, meat and milk residues, mainly. The validity of the method with two real study models will be tested with a biogas plant and feed another.

Every day in Europe thousands of tonnes of food subproducts end up as waste because they are not put to use. The agrifood sector of the Basque Autonomous Community generates annually 4 million tonnes of organic material, by-products and waste; 113,000 tonnes are vegetable, meat and dairy waste, which has a high content in nutrients and compounds, and which could become raw material again, as ingredients for animal feed or for obtaining biofuels. Experts calculate that at least 70% of this waste can be recovered. Though recovering is of little use if there is no demand for the new product in the market. The issue can be summarised with the following question: How can we know if it is feasible to recover a product at the location and in the conditions it is produced in? The European GISWASTE project seeks to provide the answer to this question. It is participated in by the European Union's Life project and is led by the consortium coordinated by the AZTI-Tecnalia centre, with the collaboration of the companies Geograma, LKS and the Basque Government's Public Society for Environmental Management, Ihobe. The GISWASTE project aims to establish a methodology and a tool that determines the viability and feasibility of each case's recycling options. A tool to prioritise the recycling alternatives, based on GIS geoinformation technology. GIS geoinformation enables building intelligent maps, in which the geographical location is included as a variable associated with a database. Included in this database are all the technical, economic and environmental factors that will condition the viability of the recycling options: amounts of by-product generated, proximity or dispersion of the same, seasonality, logistics, environmental adequacy of the treatment plants... The Basque consortium that is developing this project considers that the tool will be of enormous help when decisions have to be made by those involved in the field of waste recycling, as well as for the public administrations. In addition, they believe that it has the potential to generate new economic activities and opportunities for collaboration between the generators and recyclers of by-products. The GISWASTE project contemplates the launch of two real-life research models to validate the new tool. These would be two plants; a biogas plant and an animal feed plant, which will be used to verify the suitability of the method devised. With over 20 years of experience in projects for the recycling of food subproducts, the AZTI-Tecnalia centre, with expertise in marine and food research, is in charge of coordinating this European project, with the collaboration of Geograma, a company specialised in the collection, supply, processing and management of geoinformation; the Professional Services group LKS, part of the Mondragón group, and the Basque Government's Public Society for Environmental Management, Ihobe. The GISWASTE Project has a budget of €1.4 million and will end in 2017.