Talking about the Circular Economy of Food Industry

Sustainable Column 2020-11-02

The circular economy is not just an "environmental issue". In the current economic model and the environment has been damaged for a long time, it is not too late to make up for it. People think of many corresponding methods and measures to compensate, so how to extend the use time of natural resources and Making full use and reducing environmental pollution at the same time is a mode that needs to be considered and an important spirit of the circular economy.

However, the past concept has always been limited to recycling, which does not solve the core problem at the source. The idea of ​​the circular economy is to process through recycling methods so that resources can be returned to the system of recycling raw materials, and through redesigning products, Process, change the existing business model and cooperate with relevant logistics measures to form a cycle. However, for the food industry, this is not a new issue.

For Taiwan's food industry, there are regulations, consumer-induced, or industrial changes.
 In the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations, food is an important theme in SDG. By promoting a circular economy in the production system, the SDG will be realized. For example, SDGs such as achieving food security and sustainable agriculture, reducing food waste, effectively managing resources in consumption and production, reducing marine pollution, stopping global land degradation, ending world hunger, and ensuring physical health and welfare can all be promoted Food circular economy will be implemented.

The circular economy is mainly constructed on three theories: first, clean production; second, biological ecology; third, cradle-to-cradle resource utilization. The goal of the circular economy is to optimize the use of natural resources and prevent and reduce waste from another perspective.

By changing the user’s behavior, such as reducing the use of excessive raw materials or changing the usage habits, we discuss from the perspective of raw materials. A well-known topic in Taiwan is low-mileage food (material). Food miles means "food from production Until the delivery distance to the consumer (or mouth).” Long-distance food transportation will inevitably require the use of energy to drive transportation or store food, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore will also affect the degree of global warming. Therefore, we use the concepts of local and current seasons to educate consumers and try to choose the concept of local and seasonal ingredients.

Another issue of raw materials is that organic food can be called ecological or biological food. In addition to health, it is right The soil is friendly, and no unnatural chemicals or organic substances are used in the planting process, such as pesticides (ie pesticides, herbicides, etc.), chemical fertilizers, etc. These two issues are all influenced by one concept The behavior of users makes their own behaviors reduce environmental pollution, but for the Taiwan market, both have to face the issues of quantity and price. Taiwan’s raw materials rely more on imports, and then they can only think about how to choose.

To create different economic values ​​of surplus materials and waste, damage, surplus materials, and waste will also occur in the process of processing and trade. If these damaged materials, surplus materials, and waste can be effectively used, cost loss and environmental pollution will be significantly reduced. The use of human consumption has the greatest economic value, followed by animal feed, and incineration has the lowest value.

Therefore, how to reuse waste materials generated in the manufacturing process, such as: extracting collagen or functional fiber from fish scales, growing mushrooms from the residue after coffee grinding, and harvesting mushrooms whose ingredients have medical and health effects, including rice husks and pineapples Peel, citrus peel, bean dregs, etc. can all be reused. Flax seeds can be used for food production, and fiber can be used as a source of textiles, construction, and composite materials; forage planting can span different industries, except for animal feed. It can also be used as the main raw material of paperboard. Through these concepts, it can be developed towards higher value-added related technologies, such as cosmetics, medicines, or health products, so that waste can be turned into magic, and the stone can be turned into gold.

According to the development framework of the circular economy, the natural resources invested in the supply chain should be used as much as possible to extend their use time or be reused to reduce the input of new natural resources. In the production process, raw materials and Products can be optimized to increase economic value and reduce damage to the environment. By promoting a circular economy, it will be possible to reduce environmental pressure and maximize its benefits to ensure the sustainable development of natural resources.

-------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------- ----------
1. Recycling Taiwan Foundation
2. Description of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
3. Food Circular Economy (Su Meihui)