'Wasteless', the EU research project that will develop new instruments for measuring the performance of the circular economy, is at the starting line, thanks to blockchain by Wiise Chain. (1)
The perspective is to encourage the virtuous reuse of waste (upcycling) and reduce food waste - food loss e food waste (2) - at all stages of the agri-food chain.
WASTELESS - 'Waste Quantification Solutions to Limit Environmental Stress'- is the research and innovation project, developed with the strategic contribution of the writer (Wiise benefits) and successfully presented by the consortium of the same name.
The project answers the call, in the multi-year program of Horizon Europe (2021-2027), on 'Research and innovation for food losses and waste prevention and reduction through harmonized measurement and monitoring'. (3)
The goals by Wasteless are:
- develop a unitary system based on technology blockchain, where each organization of the agri-food chain can record the material flows (main and secondary),
- allow measurement and monitoring of food losses and wastes (FLW), by individual organizations as well as public and research bodies,
- promote the reduction of food waste thanks to the evidence of alternative and advantageous solutions, for individuals and society.
2.1) Big Data
The availability of Big Data it is the premise for setting up public and private strategies consistent with the objectives. Wasteless proposes a 'bottom up' approach, from small date a Big Data, structured as follows:
- definition of uniform methods and tools for both data collection and qualitative analyzes of the data collected,
- testing of the tools adopted for data collection from the operators of the supply chain, from farm to fork,
- assessment of the suitability of the tools, their quality and interoperability in other public and private contexts,
- recommendations to policy and organizations on how to integrate data collection (food loss, food waste).
Organizations will be able to register their material flows in the Wasteless system for:
- measure its circular economy performance, in relation to the various steps of the Lansink scale,
- verify the consistency of the data collected on Wasteless, thanks to technology blockchain and benchmarking available,
- tap into a 'toolbox' (toolbox) where the operators of the various supply chains share experiences of upcycling, (4) reuse and reuse of various materials.
La blockchain is the most impactful technology in the Wasteless project, since it is one open innovation. That is to say that all operators of the agri-food chain in the EU will be able to interact with this tool to:
- measure your FLW (food loss, food waste),
- identify areas for improvement and alternative solutions (eg. side streams to be optimized from a perspective upcycling),
- share opportunities with upstream and downstream operators,
- offer transparency within the supply chain, with options for audit and digital certifications,
- enhance their commitments in an ESG logic, (5)
- prepare for possible tax and / or social security benefits.
4) Other technologies for supply chain operators
Other technologies will be tested and included in the toolbox, at the service of retail operators especially:
- AI system for the prevention of food waste at the distribution level (predictive model of demand and price variation, recommendations of matching), in connection with the system blockchain by Wasteless,
- software identification of food waste, to be adopted in the points of sale. An opportunity to update waste reduction strategies and optimize the enhancement of materials for other uses (food and non-food).
5) Tools for consumers
Some technologies they will then be made available to consumers, with the dual function of:
- allow the collection of data relating to household food waste, including for research purposes,
- stimulate consumers' attention both on the extent and costs of food waste, and on how to avoid it. (6)
Un software identification of domestic food waste will allow to identify quantities and characteristics of food discarded through upload of their photographs. A waste prevention system will then be tested through color variation signals of rapidly perishable foodstuffs in refrigerators.
6) Case studies
The tools and methods will be applied on an experimental basis - and so adequate, thanks to feedback received, in view of their validation - on a wide series of case studies. In order to consider:
- the operational and management needs of farmers and breeders, processing companies, logistics and transport, distribution and administration of food and beverages,
- companies from various supply chains, sizes and territories in 8 Euro-Mediterranean countries. Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Turkey, Slovenia, Estonia.
The strategies di Lean management they are always useful for optimizing flow management and the Wasteless system will offer operational support for their application. The extra tool we hope to offer - in this, as in other EU research projects, which should always be inspired by open innovation e sharing economy - is the scenario of solutions available to improve processes in a logic of sustainable development.
THEupcycling it can allow the virtuous reuse of waste from each sector and supply chain. Including those of fishing and fish processing, as seen in the #EcoeFISHent project in which Wiise benefit also participates. (7) The operational solutions to be developed therefore include the recovery of valuable bio-active molecules (eg. polyphenols, volatile compounds) with technologies green that help to contain costs and optimize yields.
The substances extracted materials often destined for waste or recycling can be used - depending on the case - as ingredients of functional foods, food additives, medicines, cosmetics. Rather than being used to produce feed, fertilizers, the packaging sustainable food.
A synergy has already been planned between Wasteless and the REFRESH project (Resource Efficient Food and Drink for the Entire Supply Chain). With the aim of introducing new functionalities in the FoodWasteExplorer system (8), a which already provides information on nutrients, bioactive substances, contaminants of different foods.
WASTELESS. LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW ON RADIO CUSANO CAMPUS
9) Provisional conclusions
wasteless it got almost top marks from the evaluators of the European Commission. This is an honor for those who have conceived and will develop the project, but also a responsibility that will find satisfaction only thanks to the active contribution of the operators who will participate in it.
Further updates coming soon and invitations, to optimize the management of material flows from farm to fork and promote a paradigm shift in the choices and habits of producers, retailers and consumers. To be registered in a Wasteless system with blockchain publishes, where the greenwashing is not allowed.
Dario Dongo and Andrea Adelmo Della Penna
Cover image by Lauren Manning. Wasteless Raises $ 400k Seed for 'Internet of Groceries' Technology. Ag Funder Network. 20.4.17
Partners and contacts with Wasteless
I partner of Wasteless are:
1. Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro – Portugal
2. Hacettepe university – Turkiye
3. Europatat – Belgium
4. Iseki Food Association – Austria
5. University of Southern Denmark – Denmark
6. Spread European Safety and Sustainability EEIG – Italy
7. Eurofir – Belgium
8. WIISE – Italy
9. Instituto Superior de Agronomia – Universidade de Lisboa – Portugal
10. Hungarian Hospitality Employers' Association – Hungary
11. CTIC CITA – Spain
12. Aitown – Italy
13. Jožef Stefan Institute – Slovenia
14. University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest – Hungary
15. Agroscope – Switzerland
16. Tartu Biotehnology Park – Estonia
17. Fazlagida – Turkiye
For more information and news about the Wasteless project is available on the site website wastelesseu. com and social accounts Twitter e LinkedIn.
Footnotes to the story
(1) Dario Dongo, Gianluca Mascellino. Wiise Chain, the real Made in Italy blockchain at competitive costs. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 1.9.19
(2) Dario Dongo, Marta Strinati. Food waste, understanding and acting. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 12.11.20
(3) Research and innovation for food losses and waste prevention and reduction through harmonized measurement and monitoring. European Commission
(4) Dario Dongo, Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. Upcycling, the improved reuse in the agri-food chain. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 6.10.21
(5) Dario Dongo. Sustainability report, ESG and due diligence. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 18.7.22
(6) Martha Strinati. Ready-made soups against food waste. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 27.8.22
(7) Dario Dongo, Andrea Adelmo Della Penna. EcoeFISHent, upcycling and blue economy in the fish supply chain. The EU research project. GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade). 18.10.21
(8) Food waste explorer. REFRESH research project