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The Perfect Combination: Profitable, Green, and Boring
If you can get yourself past how boring “waste stream valorization” sounds, you could make a lot of money for your company and help save the planet. That’s especially true if you’re in the food business.

Here’s how it works. A few years ago, some progressive companies turned their scientists loose on the challenge of transforming their industrial bi-products---everything from egg shells to used yeast---into products they could sell. The scientists came back with two surprising findings. First, it is possible to take some of the most worthless sounding trash (grape stems anyone?) and transform it into a money maker (nutritional supplements that address free radical damage.) Second, there’s a lot of money to be made by a company that goes beyond reducing waste to turning bi-products into a profit center.

Given the successes to date there's better than even odds that a value-added use can be found for any given bi-product. After all, eggshells and eggshell membranes are being turned into supplements for bone and joint health. Olive pits are being transformed into fuel for pellet stoves. And rice bran is being used to increase the nutritional value and decrease the cost of pizza crust. Surely there’s something creative and profitable that can be done with your company’s waste stream!

We should think about...
  • What bi-products does your organization produce? Have you fully explored how they could be transformed into value-added products?
  • How big a hero would you be if you could turn a cost stream into a profit center?
Sources: Food Navigator 2009; NutraIngredients 2009; Natural Foods Merchandiser 2009
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