Waste reduction

Cutting needless waste

Waste reduction

Cutting needless waste

More than 2.5 billion tons of waste is generated in the EU alone every year. While levels of waste production are slowly declining, there is still far more that can be achieved. One key area is water. Although 70% of the earth is covered in water, only 2% is freshwater.

Agricultural processes are now responsible for more than two thirds of all freshwater use. This means it is vital that things are done differently if we are to avert a serious freshwater crisis.


Water facts and figures

The World Bank predicts that two thirds of the world’s population will run short of fresh drinking water by 2025.
Of food
One third of food is wasted globally.
Reduction in waste
Bühler has set the goal of achieving 50% reduction in energy consumption, waste, and water use.

Reducing waste, saving water

Not only does food production from field to fork account for one third of global energy use, a third of that food then goes to waste. This means that one ninth of global energy is used purely to produce waste, a situation that is neither acceptable nor sustainable. And this affects not just energy – vast amounts of water are also wasted in food production. We are constantly working to develop solutions that minimize waste along the entire value chain.

High yields, prime product

Traditionally, around 1500 liters of water are wasted during the production of one ton of corn. Our process for making nixtamal flour, as used in tortillas, uses 90% less water than traditional methods. As tortillas now outsell white bread in the US, that accounts for a huge amount of water saved.

With our Prime Masa nixtamal solution, rather than being cooked in water for hours, the corn is steamed – a process that also uses 40% less steam and 30% less energy than in the past. At the same time, Prime Masa increases yield, has lower levels of maintenance and requires no investment in wastewater treatment. It also creates an end product that is indistinguishable from traditional nixtamal flour.

Saving the grain

In the brewing industry, spent grain – the leftover product after the starch content has been removed – can constitute as much as 85% of a company’s by-product. Whereas some spent grain has traditionally been used in the feed industry, the vast majority is discarded, which means significant levels of waste.

Bühler startup Legria has developed a solution to effectively upcycle spent grain and return it to the food value chain. The spent grain is processed and used as an ingredient in a range of products such as baked goods, chocolate and spreads. Not only is it a significant contribution to cutting waste, it also helps improve the nutritional profile of these foods, reducing the sugar content and increasing fiber and protein levels.

Our sustainability objective is to enable our customers to use 50% less energy, produce 50% less waste, and reduce water use by 50% in their value chains.

Stefan Scheiber, Bühler CEO

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