Celebrating the riches of Earth

Each year we celebrate Earth Day in gratitude for all the magnificence this beautiful planet provides us, from the food that we eat to the natural resources that we use to clothe and house ourselves. Alongside these practical offerings, Earth is covered with spectacular landscapes and wonderous creatures, so wide ranging one human could never hope to see them all. Not even for the most adventurous among us.

Despite the Earth’s beauty and ability to provide for us, we need a special day to be reminded that this Planet is suffering at the hands of human actions, resulting in climate change, biodiversity loss, erosion, pollution and natural resource depletion, just to name a few. Positive action is needed, including having industry and academia form partnerships to develop new industrial processes and produce new products for consumer use.

The INGREEN consortium partners are taking positive steps in this direction by optimising the recovery and use of materials from industrial side streams. Currently 88 million tonnes of food waste is generated annually in the EU that costs approximately €143 billion. The paper and pulp industry is the 6th largest polluting industry globally, producing 11 million tonnes of waste and 42 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year in Europe alone. INGREEN will develop processes to extract bioactive compounds from wheat and rye bran that is created during the milling process, from whey that is a by-product of cheese making, and from the wastewater of paper milling factories. These sustainable, efficient, and safe biotechnologies and eco-friendly approaches to produce health-promoting functional food ingredients and raw materials will be demonstrated in real operational environments. Subsequently, these compounds will be used to develop innovative bio-based prototypes for the food, feed, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and packaging sectors.

By using circular economy principles, this project funded by the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking will contribute to reducing the pressures on Earth.

Happy Earth Day! Let’s all do what we can to protect our planet!