Hawke’s Bay food producers and processors will soon have the opportunity to join a collaborative sector-wide initiative aimed at reducing waste and adding value to by-products. 

Modelled on South Canterbury’s ‘Sustainable is Attainable’ programme, begun in 2019, the initiative aims to help overcome some of the key obstacles to getting value from waste streams, such as scale, coordination, and transport costs. 

“By better understanding what waste streams exist in the region, we can determine what synergies there might be, and how one company’s waste might be combined with another’s to create something more valuable” says HB programme manager Dr Nicky Solomon.  “Essentially we’re looking for opportunities that might come from combining similar or complementary waste streams.”

This project will be the primary focus of the food and fibre programme supported by the region’s five local authorities for the next 12 months. 

The ‘Sustainable is Attainable’ initiative was driven by Venture Timaru and brought together twenty-two businesses from the food processing and manufacturing sector in South Canterbury. With funding from Callaghan Innovation, three university students spent the summer collating and researching the waste streams, including biowastes, plastics, and PPE from the participating companies. From there, opportunities for collaboration to deal with waste and add value to by-products were identified.

Nicky intends that this model will be emulated here, and with support from the Hastings District Council she will be hosting Nigel Davenport, CEO of Venture Timaru, in the region on August 17th, for an initial meeting to gauge interest and share learnings from the South Canterbury experience.  “We are really fortunate to be able to benefit from the work that has been done in South Canterbury, and potentially integrate our work with theirs.”

Students will spend the coming summer collecting and collating information about the waste streams of participating businesses. Nicky anticipates that by mid-2022 the region will have identified a handful of feasible projects, for which funding would be sought to progress those of highest priority.  “The South Canterbury programme has identified possibilities like generating fuel from biowaste; extracting functional ingredients for food, nutraceuticals and cosmetics; and high-value soil conditioners. There will be learnings for us from what has proved to be viable in their work to date.”

If you would like to know more, or register interest in attending the presentation from Nigel Davenport on 17th August, please contact Nicky at food@hbbusinesshub.nz

And for more on the South Canterbury programme: https://www.vtdevelopment.co.nz/news/media-releases/sustainable-is-attainable

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