Large-Scale Waste Throughout History: How Modern Society can Take Important Steps Towards Sustainability

  • 25.08.2021
  • 1:00

One of the most valuable things we can do as a society is to reduce waste. We are all very familiar with the idea of recycling, in other words, reusing old material instead of using or harvesting raw materials to create products. One of the reasons that we are so familiar with the mantra, “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle,” is because on an individual level, this is an area where we can make considerable difference in terms of tackling environmental issues, as we all produce waste by just living. However, there are many differences we can make on a larger scale to adopt the same mindset of using materials that would otherwise be wasted. One of the most influential systems in terms of eliminating waste is a circular business model, in which the focus is to upcycle waste products in an economical way. It is important that we attempt to upcycle waste instead of burning through our natural resources at the alarming rate that we are now. This is why circular business models are imperative to societal growth, and why NapiFeryn’s tech is such an innovative and valuable addition to our food system, not only for its individual capabilities, but also for its potential to lead by example.

Throughout history, it is unfortunately a common habit for us to use resources for a fraction of their potential output. It was, and is, often common to discard unwanted resources to extract what was considered most valuable. Oftentimes, these discarded resources had a wide array of potential uses, but this was either unknown or disregarded. This mindset is unfortunately not uncommon today. However, more people are becoming aware of massive waste production as a pressing issue, and are pushing for change, which has led to the development of innovative technologies that are slowly and surely modernizing the way that we approach production across a number of industries. NapiFeryn BioTech is tackling the waste issue within the food industry, which historically has contributed considerably to waste production. Our technology ALSEOS transforms the byproducts generated by the oil-pressing industry into nutritious, healthy protein ready to be used in human food products.

Protein is an important aspect of the human diet that has traditionally been difficult to harvest and distribute in a sustainable manner. For many years, the leading source for humans has been animal protein, which is characterized by a waste of calorific value through the grain needed to feed livestock, as well as air and water pollution. Another issue with animal farming is the large percentage of land that is used – as much as 60 percent of arable land is used for pastures or plants grown to feed livestock. With a growing global population, it is simply not realistic to expect that our protein needs will be fulfilled with animal proteins in the future. Many who are aware of the sustainability issues associated with animal farming have turned towards plant proteins. However, this market is currently monopolized by soy, and further environmental issues arise when we overproduce one type of crop, not to mention the long transport necessary to distribute this product to everywhere that there is a demand for it. The answer is, of course, plant proteins taken from a diverse range of crops, especially ones that can be locally produced and distributed to reduce their environmental footprint and transport costs.

ALSEOS extracts plant proteins from what is called rapeseed cake, which is the byproduct of the rapeseed oil-pressing process. Rapeseed is a bright, yellow-flowering plant grown in the EU more than anywhere else in the world. Because of its local production and the circular business model of NapiFeryn BioTech, the technology is highly sustainable. It is also very efficient and economical and has the potential to double the revenue for rapeseed processors. Due to the growing demand for vegetable oils, global production of rapeseed (or canola) oil has grown by 89 percent. Therefore, this technology has the potential to eliminate waste while maximizing profit within a booming industry, as well as providing another plant protein to consumers who are starved for choice when it comes to sustainable options.

It’s no question that people wish to eat in a sustainable manner. The numbers of vegetarians and flexitarians, those who primarily consume plant-based foods with the occasional animal products, are increasing. This proves that consumers are eager to explore more options when they become available to them, and that many of the sustainability issues associated with our food system are primarily a result of antiquated processes which are followed out of necessity or lack of choice for consumers. It is encouraging to see that once consumers are made aware of sustainability issues, there is slow but steady movement towards eco-friendly processes. The onus is now on food manufacturers and processors, as well as biotech companies like NapiFeryn, to modernize the food system – and it is also in their best interest to do so.

ALSEOS can answer numerous issues related to both sustainability and profitability for the oil-pressing and food industries. NapiFeryn has been recognized for this potential by the European Commission, and so has been chosen to participate in their research and funding programme, Horizon 2020. Now NapiFeryn BioTech is striving for large-scale international recognition.

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