Scion makes waste pay

31 May 2010

Scion, the Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute, will be highlighting practical technologies at this year’s Fieldays. Two of those technologies convert waste to profit.

Increasing landfill costs and environmental concerns have prompted the development of technologies that create new products from waste. Scions “Waste 2 Gold” technology diverts waste from landfills and uses it to create new valuable products, such as chemicals, fertilisers or energy.

For the Rotorua District Council, a key early supporter of Waste 2 Gold, the estimated cost savings are around $650,000 per year. At the Scion Fieldays site, the key benefits of the technology will be highlighted as well as its potential application to farms.

Zespri and Scion have collaborated to produce a prototype bioplastic spife. The spife (spoon-knife) is a clever tool sold with retail packs of fruit and is used cut and scoop kiwifruit. The bio-spife is made from corn-based bioplastics as well as residual kiwifruit waste. It is both renewable and compostable. It helps utilise waste kiwifruit and provides a unique selling point that can be marketed to eco-conscious consumers. It is hoped the bio-spife will be the first of many bio-plastic products that could have a big future for New Zealand.

Visitors to the Scion site will get the first public viewing of Acres. Still in development, Acres will be a free web-based decision support tool for land managers. It is being developed by Scion, AgResearch and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Acres compares multiple land-use options for a single paddock. For example, when converting a section of hard hill country to forestry, the financial and environmental outcomes of various different forestry scenarios, such as species, planting densities and harvesting dates can be compared. Users will get a measure of how well-off (or not) they’ll be under the emissions trading scheme.

Scion will be at Fieldays sites PF24 and 25.