REINWASTE PROJECT ON REDUCING INORGANIC WASTE IN THE AGRO-FOOD INDUSTRY

The REINWASTE project seeks to REmanufacture the food supply chain by testing INNovative solutions to achieve zero inorganic waste. With the slogan “preventing waste disposal is more sustainable and less costly”, REINWASTE is being carried out within the framework of the INTERREG MED European cooperation programme. The objective is to promote circular-economy innovation amongst companies in the food and beverage sector in order to ensure growth and sustainable development in the agro-food industry in Mediterranean regions.

The project aims to make a specific contribution to reducing inorganic waste through the adoption of more sustainable innovative concepts in agriculture and the food industry, with particular focus on SMEs.

The REINWASTE consortium is made up of influential opinion groups in the field of agricultural waste prevention in the Mediterranean area. The consortium will work on improving
the transnational competence network, selecting and testing the best available solutions and rapidly transferring this knowledge.

The aim is to strengthen innovation support services in the agrofood chain and transnational cooperation in the aforementioned regions. As of now, these aspects are not sufficiently consolidated and it is also necessary to overcome the barrier of the traditional “local” approach in order to facilitate technology transfer.

Subsequent to preliminary analysis combining technologically advanced solutions (from EU R&D projects) and the real needs of companies, three value chains will be studied (dairy products in Italy; horticultural products in Spain; and meat products in France). The feasibility of launching a new service to systemise the supply and demand of innovative waste prevention solutions will also be studied.

The project specifically seeks to ensure that inorganic waste generated in agro-food systems (such as containers, packaging, plastics, bags, bottles, etc., from both production systems and agro-food products) is managed in accordance with current bio-economy and circular economy models. The aim is to promote a more sustainable agro-food system through the implementation of innovative waste management models and to foster the use of new materials made of bio-materials and biotechnology techniques, as well as sustainable management practices. For this purpose, three influential food clusters from southern European regions are identifying the challenges to be addressed, testing advanced solutions and disseminating information on pilot tests aimed at minimising inorganic waste in three important agro-food sectors: horticultural products in Andalusia (Spain), dairy products in Emilia-Romagna (Italy) and meat products in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region (France).

In addition, the region of East Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) will benefit from the methodological approach and will participate in the transfer stage.

This project focuses on small and medium-sized enterprises involved in development and innovation in their regions, and which participate in cluster initiatives in the field of agro-food waste prevention that enable businesspeople to cooperate and exchange experiences. The project is also optimising the use of bio-based materials, and the redesign of products and processes in order to limit inorganic waste production.

Three action plans will be undertaken to achieve the targets set by the S3 (Smart Specialisation Strategy) for primary-sector SMEs and industry in the MED regions, and three protocols for the minimisation of waste in complete food chains will be developed. Plans will also be drafted for the transfer of this knowledge to other food chains and sectors. This will take the form of an adapted combination of knowledge transfer services based on a common open innovation approach.

 

 

Published in: Nº64 FuturENVIRO October 2019